Wednesday, 16 June 2021 - 4:07pm

'Beer goggles' bring road safety into focus

2 min read

News article photos (3 items)

Sergeant Natana Collier-Repia with students Fraser and Dan, and SADD rep Jay Boyd. Natana and Dan are wearing the
A student struggling to balance using the impaired-vision goggles
A school teacher prepares to attempt to shoot a hoop while wearing the impairment goggles.

Beer goggles helped students at Whitby Collegiate educate their classmates about the dangers of driving impaired when they hosted a Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD) event last week.

Road trauma is the greatest cause of harm for 16 to 24-year-olds in New Zealand and has long-lasting effects in our communities. SADD empowers young people to lead positive road-user behaviour in their school and community, and aims to keep our young people safe on our roads.

The lunchtime event at Whitby Collegiate was run by Year 13 volunteer students Dan and Fraser, with the support of Sergeant Natana Collier-Repia, from the Wellington Alcohol Harm Prevention team. The aim of the session was to educate young people around the dangers of drink driving and driving distracted.

“Driving safely is especially important for young people our age," says Dan. "New Zealand has a big drinking culture and there are dangers that come with alcohol consumption. When it hinders to your ability to drive, the result can be quite tragic."

For the first event of the term, Dan and Fraser set up an obstacle course for fellow students to complete. They were tasked with writing a simple text message on their phones while completing the course, with their peers throwing soft balls and shouting out at them.

Very few managed to complete the course and send a coherent message.

“The lesson was about the dangers of driving distracted," says Dan. "If you’re not focused on the road in front of you then you're bound to make a mistake. We had an obstacle course, but on the road the stakes are much higher."

The task on the second day was also simple enough. Students were asked to dribble a basketball around some cones and take their shot to get the ball in the hoop.

However, with beer goggles on this seemingly simple task proved to be quite the challenge. The beer goggles distort the wearer's vision so it’s similar to what someone driving impaired, either just under the limit or considerably over the limit, would experience.

Students and teachers both had a go at completing the task with some hilariously entertaining results, and very few basketballs making it into the hoop.

While there were plenty of laughs, the serious message was very clear - driving while impaired or distracted unnecessarily puts you and others at risk.

Natana commends Dan and Fraser for taking the lead in educating their peers about the dangers of driving impaired or distracted.

"We want our young people to be safe and confident road users. SADD events such as this present an engaging environment to have these important road safety conversations with our youth.”