Community invited to witness dangers of distracted and drunken driving at mock DUI event
Virginia Tech students, employees, and community members are invited to watch as the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad partners with the Blacksburg Fire Department, the Virginia Tech Police Department, and a Carilion LifeGuard Med-Evac helicopter to conduct a simulated motor vehicle collision at 5:30 p.m. on March 23.
The mock DUI event will take place on Drillfield Drive between Davidson Hall and Sandy Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Flashing lights and sirens on emergency vehicles will be used during the drill.
The simulation is intended to raise awareness around the dangers and life-threatening consequences of driving distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving, including using a cell phone, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, or adjusting the radio. Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most dangerous distraction, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
While national statistics show that the rate of drunk driving fatalities has decreased 49 percent since 1991, drunk driving continues to be a problem. In 2015, 10,265 people were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater) according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The simulated accident will be staged on the Drillfield and will include the entrapment of victims within the vehicles. Rescue squad and fire department teams will use high-powered rescue tools, sometimes called the Jaws of Life, to remove entrapped patients from the vehicles. The Med-Evac helicopter will then simulate the transport of a critically injured patient by landing on and lifting off from the grassy field adjacent to Grove Lane.
The event will last approximately 90 minutes. The section of Drillfield Drive between Davidson Hall and Sandy Hall will be closed to vehicular traffic from 3-6 p.m. to allow for set up, the drill itself, and clean up. Traffic on West Campus Drive will be stopped for a brief period of time during the emergency response to the Drillfield via Grove Lane and West Campus Drive.
Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the Perry Street Lots and the Perry Street Parking Garage near Prices Fork Road. Parking on the Drillfield requires a visitor’s pass until 8 p.m. For more information about parking, call Parking and Transportation Services at 540-231-3200.