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Butte students get 'crash' course in dangers of distracted and drunk driving

Posted at 8:57 AM, Jun 27, 2024

BUTTE - High school kids in Butte are having fun this morning driving golf carts around, but they’re learning a serious lesson about the dangers of distracted and drunk driving.

Now, do you ever text and drive?

“Oh no,” said 15-year-old Ariah Godat.

You don’t. C’mon, are you being honest?

“Oh yeah, I’m being honest. Oh no, I will not text and drive,” she said.

Butte students get 'crash' course in dangers of distracted and drunk driving

That’s what members of the St. James Trauma Team want to hear from young people at the driving training course that simulates distracted and drunk driving.

“We see a lot of trauma that comes through our ER from patients that are districted or somebody else was distracted and hit them, so it’s important for them to learn that,” said Desiree Phillips of the St. James Trauma Team.

Students drove the course while texting and also wearing special goggles that simulate intoxication. Results were messy.

“Do you think it’s safe to text while driving?” said instructor Risik Rask.

“Definitely not,” a student replied.

“Do you think it should be illegal to text while driving?” he asked.

“Yes!” she said.

Instructors say texting and driving can be more dangerous than drunk driving.

“It is, if you look at the kids' surveys afterward, they do much worse when they text and drive or they're distracted on their phones,” said Phillips.

I gave the course a try. What does this do?

“We got some goggles that will simulate you being intoxicated,” said Rask.

Oh, this morning, those won’t be necessary. Let’s do the simulation intoxication. Whoa! I feel like Justin Timberlake.

How do you think the kids, after they get done doing this, do you think they’re getting the message?

“I think they’re getting the message. I think they’re realizing that anything could happen while they’re driving, so they need to pay attention,” said Rask.