Arrive Alive makes an impact on juniors


Anjali Sundaram

Students participating in the activity were told to sit in a black car brought by Arrive Alive. The car was said to contribute to the full experience one would get if they were actually drinking and driving or texting while driving. People waiting in line got to see the student who was driving’s attempt on TVs placed outside the tent. Junior Tommy Rima laughs as he attempts to drive straight while having blurred vision representing what his state of mind would be like if he did drive drunk stimulated by the goggles. “[Arrive Alive] definitely was beneficial,” Rima said. “Learning about the dangers of drunk driving is something everyone really needs to hear about and I thought that touring each high school was a good idea on Arrive Alive’s part.”

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

Eyes squinting as the student tries to look through his blurred vision. His hands grasp the steering wheel tightly as he tries to continue his path straight. For a moment, he thinks he has got it, he thinks he can do this. That’s when it happens, he crashes and dies.

On Oct. 16, juniors were taken out of English, Social Studies and Science classes to participate in a drunk driving and texting while driving seminar brought to Cedar Park by Arrive Alive. Arrive Alive, which is a seminar that tour schools all over the country informing students about the dangers of drinking and driving and texting while driving. They were contacted through one of our Assistant Principals Edwina Hayden.

“I wanted students to see firsthand how dangerous texting while driving and drunk driving are because one in four teen car accidents are due to texting while and driving,” Hayden said.

When juniors gathered around the hallway by the cheer gym, they watched interviews with parents who lost teens to drinking/texting while driving.

“Those who watched the video saw firsthand the horrors of accidents when either of these things [drunk driving and texting while driving] are present,” Hayden said.

One student, junior Emily Reed who saw the video, explains the content of the video and her thoughts on the brutal scene.

“To be honest the video was gruesome,” Reed said. “It was completely terrible to hear those parents talk about their deceased children because they did one terrible mistake.”

Because of the video’s contents, and several students’ inability to tolerate it, the video ceased to play after 6th period.

In addition to the video presentation, students got to have a stimulated experience. Each student had the opportunity to choose drinking while driving or texting while driving. Then, students who wished to participate would get a chance to sit in a car and wear goggles. The juniors were told then to grasp the steering wheel and to attempt to drive.

Junior Tommy Rima explained the hardship of driving under the influence and the effect it had on him.

“Well it certainly wasn’t easy and I crashed almost instantly, so it felt pretty hopeless,” Rima said. “My whole life I’ve heard how dangerous it is to drive under the influence, and doing a simulation that almost feels physical did help get the point across more than just hearing about it.” 

Doing a simulation that almost feels physical and helped put the point across more than just hearing about it.”

— Junior Tommy Rima

According to Rima, what he thought was going to happen and what did happen were two totally different things.

“Before I tried driving I knew that it wouldn’t go well, and after it pretty much just reassured my knowledge about how dumb it is to drink and drive,” Rima said. “It was a fun experiment though and I enjoyed trying it.”

Junior Brandi Gaspard also explains how drinking and driving may seem easy, but is actually quite hard and dangerous.

“[During the simulated activity] it felt like I was out of control and it was kind of scary,” Gaspard said. “It made me realize how dangerous drinking and driving really is on a personal level rather than knowing the stats and seeing it happen. Before, I was low-key excited to try, but then after, [the simulated experience] I was like I’m never trying.”

During the texting while driving segment, students had to take their phones with them in the car and attempt to drive without crashing. Junior Maddie Meyer chose this portion of the seminar.

“It felt weird, I usually can multitask but with this I could not,” Meyer said. “It made me think about what could happen in real life with texting and driving.”

Meyer also informs us on the difference between her before and after experience and her thoughts on texting while driving in general.

If it’s that important, pull into a parking lot and take care of it.”

— Maddie Meyer

“Before I was excited to see what my results would be, and after I felt more informed of the dangers and everything that can happen in just a moment,” Meyer said. “I also think that you shouldn’t text under any circumstance.”

Hayden, who brought Arrive Alive to the school, illuminates her thoughts on the overall experience.

“I like to think it was a hit,” Hayden said. “I hope we can bring more programs to the school to educate students.”

She was not the only one who enjoyed Arrive Alive; Rima also articulates his thoughts on his experience, through the eyes of a student.

“I particularly enjoyed the actual driving portion of the Arrive Alive tour, since it gave me a hands-on attempt at driving drunk,” Rima said.

Whether a student participated in the drinking and driving section or the texting and driving section, the conclusion is the same; driving with distractions and/or under the influence is against the law and can be hurtful to oneself and others.

“Drinking and driving is idiotic and dangerous, all you’re doing is putting yourself and others at risk,” Rima said. “I don’t get why people even think about trying it but I’m glad that others are doing their best to stop it.”

Students waited in line before hopping into the car. One of the Assistant Principals: (A-C) Edwina Hayden directing students to the line before they get a chance to do the stimulated activity. “I feel kids who attended benefitted by trying the simulated driving experience and just hearing again about the dangers of it brought it out in the open,” Hayden said. Photo by: Anjali Sundaram
Students that participated in the stimulated activity signed a sheet placed by Arrive Alive employees that stated that students signing this sheet, pledge to never drink and driving and/or text while driving. Photo by: Anjali Sundaram
After the driving activity, students would then complete a survey explaining their likes and dislikes about the Arrive Alive experience. Junior Brandi Gaspard fills out the survey expressing her favorite and least favorite part. “My favorite part was having the experience and actually driving, while crashing and failing and knowing what I would be charged with was my least favorite part,” she said. Photo by: Anjali Sundaram