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Event will help teens learn about impaired driving

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The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and public school system want all area teenage drivers to “arrive alive.”

This weekend, law enforcement and school officials are teaming up to host Arrive Alive, an interactive program aimed at bringing teen awareness to distracted and impaired driving.

The Arrive Alive program will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the Walmart on Southpoint Parkway.

Parents are also encouraged to attend and support the program.

According to the Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety website, 83 teens across the state were killed in 2012 and 1,376 were seriously injured in car crashes. Another 8,405 teens suffered minor injuries.

“We are taking a proactive approach to educate the youth in the Spotsylvania County and surrounding area to show our commitment to safe driving and saving lives,” said Sheriff Roger Harris.

The free event uses high-impact videos and a computer simulator inside a car to allow drivers, ages 16 to 20, to have a firsthand experience with the potential consequences of distracted driving.

The simulator will duplicate the effects of drunken driving and texting while behind the wheel. A large screen will display what the participant is experiencing so that others can see the immediate and disastrous results of such driving behavior, he said.

In addition, golf carts with “drunk goggles” will be at the event to allow even more young people to participate in a hands-on manner.

“This is a preventative educational effort as our county approaches prom season and graduation season,” Harris said. “We hope this saves at least one life by stressing smart choices and safer behavior.”

The Sheriff’s Office has other efforts in place to help curb underage drinking and unsafe behavior through DUI checkpoints, speed enforcement operations and underage buyer operations.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419