Death experience returns again

A wrecked car was one of many displays at the event.

A wrecked car was one of many displays at the event.

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A wrecked car on campus between the G building and LRC was on display as part of the annual Death Experience event. Designed to raise awareness of the consequences of distracted driving, the Death Experience is volunteer run and heavily supported by the college police department.

“It’s so dramatic,” said Tanya Horton , a student at Mesa, “it gets your attention.” When asked about the event, Dalton Williams said the event was beneficial, “It opens up people’s eyes.”

Free food was offered to participating students on March 19th. At noon on the same day fire trucks rushed to the quad where firemen promptly cut open the car with the “jaws of life”, a large mechanical device that can cut apart car frames to rescue trapped crash victims.

Other events populated the exhibit as well. An impaired driving simulator tested volunteers’ ability to operate a car while inebriated. Wearing virtual reality goggles and sitting inside a parked SUV, the driver would attempt to safely complete the course while fighting the exaggerated controls. Onlookers were able to see the driver’s struggle with the exaggerated steering and throttle via a monitor outside the car.

Police offered to show volunteers how difficult it really was to operate while impaired. “Drunk goggles,” tinted goggles that simulated vision while inebriated, were offered to volunteers who then were asked to take nine steps in a line, one foot in front of the other. The motor control test drew laughs as most students were unable to complete the task.

Speaker Cally Bright, district attorney in the DUI and homicide unit spoke on the reality of impaired driving.

“Nobody plans to get a DUI.” Bright laments that a failure to plan as the cause of many crashes. “The saddest cases are those who are struck and killed while not driving.” She stated that 85 percent of fatalities in deadly car crashes occur to persons sitting shotgun.

Along with a sobering amount of injuries that occur in a crash, hefty fines are placed on offenders. If the offender is under 21, a suspended licence, fines upwards of $10,000, court attorney fees, and a huge increase in insurance prices are assured side effects. What money cannot quantify, said Bright, is the emotional and physical damage done to persons by a high-speed car crash.

Bright suggested that a $30 Uber ride home might look like a pretty good option considering the alternative.

“2nd DUI, can be charged with murder.” said Bright. In the past seven years of DUI cases, 82 percent of fatal crashes had been first time offenders.

She was also able to confirm that the majority of victims in fatal crashes are 18 to 25 year old males. Bright expressed her sadness in prosecuting individuals responsible for a DUI, “this really great person did something bad.” A sober individual’s reaction time on the road is roughly three seconds. Any mental impairment and that time will be lengthened greatly.

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