Health and wellness week at Front Range Community College’s Westminster campus encouraged healthy practices among students and staff members. The activity on Feb. 10 used arcade games and bulky goggles to warn students against impaired driving.
The event setup consisted of two racing arcade machines and two pairs of goggles: one to mimic the effect of marijuana on driving ability and the other to represent the effect of 0.06 percent blood alcohol level. For reference, 0.08% blood alcohol level is considered legally impaired.
Jessica Jurgella, Coordinator of Student Programs and Community Resources, supervised this event. In addition to teaching students the dangers of impaired driving themselves, Jurgella wanted students to carry the message to others. “We want students learn to take away someone’s keys or encourage them to take a bus or a taxi if they are impaired,” she said.
“A lot of students say that the goggles don’t represent what their vision feels like when they drive impaired,” Jurgella said. However, the goggles not only took into account how marijuana or alcohol effects one’s vision, but they also mimicked the physiological effects, including a slowed reaction time and lowered mood.
Although the activity was interactive and entertaining, it sought to ingrain the dangers of impaired driving in students’ heads.
While the use of marijuana and/or alcohol impairs one’s driving, it is equally as detrimental to one’s safety and well-being off of the road. In fact, Jurgella decorated the walls and the arcade machines with statistics about alcohol effects from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 2015.
For example, four out of five college students drink alcohol, and half of those who drink reported binge drinking, or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in short periods of time.
Moreover, 1,825 students between the ages of 18 and 25 die from alcohol related incidents every year. The Institute also reported that, “More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol related sexual assault or date rape.”
The most shocking and relevant statistic explained the effects of marijuana and alcohol on students’ academic performances. 25 percent of college students who drink reported negative academic consequences, including inability to pay attention, lower grades, and decreased class attendance. Jurgella confirmed that this number increased to 30 percent for Front Range Community College Students.
People overlook the phrase, “Don’t drink and drive,” because they hear it as often as, “Get good grades,” or, “Eat your vegetables.” Luckily, Front Range Community College reminded students that impaired driving is hazardous for oneself and for others on the road.
Written by Kayla Klein