Officers show dangers of distracted driving - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Officers show dangers of distracted driving

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HOWLAND, Ohio - This summer police will be watching the roads for distracted drivers.

"Oh my God" and "I'm way off the line," were common expressions by teens trying on the beer goggles provided by Trumbull Safe Communities. Through the use of the beer goggles, teens and adults got an opportunity to see how their coordination and ability to function is altered when they are drunk or legally impaired.

Jeremy Rodgers with Trumbull Safe Communities tells teens underage drinking is illegal and even two or three sips of beer can lead to their cars hooked up and towed and criminal charges.

Rodgers gave teens instructions, telling them to keep their hands to their sides and take nine steps heel to toe on a straight line. The results are staggering just like those who take part seeing through sober eyes what it's like to be driving drunk.

Mariah Aivazis, a member of the National Honor Society and a student at Howland High School, says once she put the beer goggles on, she couldn't see straight and the line she was attempting to walk on was not easy.

She says drinking and driving is definitely not something she would want to do.

Brooke Rounsley, also a National Honor Society member, descrived the beer goggle experience as insane.

She says that she didn't feel like she was even there and could barely walk.

In addition to impaired drivers, there is another danger on the roads: distracted drivers.

The National Highway Administration says it's an epidemic. In 2011, over 3,000 people lost their lives and there were over 300,000 crashes, also due to distracted drivers on our country's roads.

Many teens don't realize Ohio's laws have changed regarding cell phones and electronic devices.

Rodgers says, if you are under 18, a police officer or state trooper can pull you over for just having your cell phone in your hand. He adds you can be looking at it, playing a game, texting or e-mailing, and receive a ticket.

Rodgers explains the first offense for someone under 18 is a three-month license suspension and $150 fine. A second offense is a one-year license suspension and a $300 fine.

He says, if you're driving 55 miles per hour down the highway, that could put you off the road, into trees, or another lane, adding one second is huge. Trumbull Safe Communities emphasizes that just to look down at your phone for a second and look back up can mean the difference between life and death.

He and others ask if there is any message so important that it is worth possibly killing someone else, your friends in the vehicle with you, or yourself.

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