Underage drinking and driving has become quite a problem over the years. According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, in 2007, underage drinking and driving cost West Virginia $52 million in lost wages and other factors. In fact, West Virginia ranks sixth in the United States for alcohol-related driving fatalities
As an effort to help reduce underage drinking and driving, State Farm® has partnered with the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety program. To bring awareness to the issue, State Farm recently donated $90,000 to the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (ABCA). The money was part of a ‘Safe Neighbors’ grant.
With the help of the grant funding, State Farm and the WV ABCA worked with the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program to purchase a Smart’n Up DUI Simulator. The simulator, which was officially unveiled during a press conference at the State Capitol in Charleston, is an educational tool that shows students the dangers of driving while drunk. The simulator will be taken to high schools across the state as part of a two to three day program, conducted by Keith Wagner, deputy commissioner of the ABCA.
The simulator recently visited Hannan High School. Local State Farm Agent, Terry Pyles, worked with Wagner and Shawn Smith of the WV ABCA to present the program. Pyles described the simulator program as a wonderful tool to teach local teens the repercussions of driving while under the influence.
“Those of us in the insurance business constantly hear about teenage drivers being in an accident due to drinking and driving,” Pyles said. “They think it’s nothing to have a beer or two and hit the road. This simulator really mimics what it’s like to be impaired and behind the wheel. The real message is to help our youth make good decisions before getting behind the wheel, while on the road, and in life situations.”