Morgan Golliver, Assistant News Editor
On Sept. 20, Utica College celebrated its annual “Squirrel Day” on the Strebel lawn. There were many activities that students could participate in including the Arrive Alive Tour.
The Arrive Alive Tour is a virtual simulation vehicle and system where students can experience the effects of drunk or distracted driving.
The event was hosted by UC’s Student Living and Campus Engagement office to help promote Alcohol Awareness on campus.
Abigail Reyome, a mental health counselor and AOD educator at Utica College, spoke on UC’s behalf of having this event as well as other alcohol awareness events on campus.
“It’s important to have events like this on college campuses to give students a safe, real-life experience with the dangers of distracted driving and driving over the influence,” Reyome said. “Events like the Arrive Alive Tour provides students with knowledge on these dangers and gives them the opportunity to pledge to never drink and drive.”
Unite, a national health and wellness organization that provides educational programs designed to raise awareness about drunk and distracted driving, brought the Arrive Alive Tour to UC.
“Our simulation vehicle has Bluetooth sensors on both the gas and brake pedals and to the steering wheel to a computerized system,” Unite Educator Alexis Melinn said. “The student gets in the car and puts on special goggles to see the road in front of them. After that, I select the course, situation of either texting while driving or drunk driving, and if the student chooses drunk driving, I select how many drinks they’d have.”
According to the Arrive Alive Tour website, an average of 28 people are killed every day in alcohol- related car accidents, but now that cell phones have taken a much larger focus, especially to young adults, there have been more cases of distracted driving as more than 660,000 people use their phones while driving a day.
“Texting is more common now than drinking and driving,” Melinn said. “While someone looks at their phone, they don’t realize they are driving farther than they think, and that’s when an accident could happen. I want everyone to be aware that events like this happen, and I hope events like this help prevent these consequences to happen.”
Freshman Sierra Logan tried the simulation and it was a crucial life-changing experience for her.
“When I was in the vehicle for the drunk driving, I couldn’t even move the steering wheel,” Logan said. “I never want to experience anything like it in real life. It’s not ok to be so impaired or distracted that you look away from driving for about four seconds, and something happens.”
Logan also expressed the idea of how UC should have more events like this if only there was more student participation.
“I’m glad that I came over to this event and saw the effects of drunk driving and distracted driving,” Logan said. “If more students were to participate in events like this, it’s going to help raise more awareness and help prevent it from happening.”
In addition to holding more events like the Arrive Alive Tour, Reyome also believes students need to be educated in the classroom.
“I think the college should continue to hold interactive events that students are likely to participate in, but students should also be educated in the classroom,” Reyome said. “It will help reduce excessive drinking incidents on campus.”
For more information on the Arrive Alive Tour and facts on drunk and distracted driving, go to arrivealivetour.org.