Story by Dino Piccinini, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Sierra Mason
On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the Aquinas College Department of Campus Safety held the Intoxicated Driving Experience, an event which gives students the opportunity to take the wheel of a golf cart while wearing vision-blurring goggles, simulating the effects of driving drunk. The event was part of Campus Safety Awareness Week which ran from Sept. 17 to Sept. 21.
Campus Safety set up an obstacle course using mainly orange cones and caution tape in the Academic Building parking lot. People walking by were given the chance to select a pair of goggles, some of which simulated higher strength of intoxication than others, and attempted to drive the golf cart through the obstacle course.
Most people took it slow and steady, demonstrating the difficulty of driving with the goggles on. A few cones took direct hits, to the amusement of bystanders.
Ryan Wendt, the Campus Safety Locksmith and head of AQBikes, was supervising the event. He recalls that the Intoxicated Driving Experience has been a popular event for the roughly ten years that it has been going on.
“It’s an eye-opener,” Wendt said. “People see how difficult it is.”
Wendt believes that, from a safety perspective, the event does its job. He explained that lots of people come to the event and experience firsthand the difficulty of driving drunk.
Cassie Herrington, the AQBikes supervisor, agreed that the event works and that people are “surprised by how hard it is to even get to the driver’s seat.”
On the other hand, not all who participated in the experience shared the same feelings about the difficulty of intoxicated driving.
“People also say ‘Oh, I didn’t hit any cones, now I can drunk drive!’” Herrington said.
The event was designed to be fun and engaging, with AQSound supplying music and Campus Safety providing free popcorn. This atmosphere alleviated some of the seriousness of the issue at the heart of the event.
“Do I still hold the record from last year?” said President Kevin Quinn, referring to his own attempt at the obstacle course in 2017, further adding to the atmosphere of levity.