DUI simulator visits WVABCA contest winners at Clay County High School

CLAY, W.Va. — The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration plans to recognize students at Clay County High School on Wednesday for winning a statewide contest that highlights the dangers of underage drinking.

Officials were at the school Tuesday to restart their DUI Simulator Program after the last two years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WVABCA Spokesperson Gig Robinson said the program provides youth with the opportunity to experience various driving conditions and scenarios, including movement of the driver’s seat and other difficulties drivers face while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“It mimics the reactions that the driver will encounter at various blood alcohol content levels,” Robinson said. “As the student progresses through the course, that level will increase, so the reaction will be felt in the steering wheel.”

The DUI Simulator has been around since 2010 and makes its way to high schools across West Virginia every prom/graduation season.

Robinson said it’s an important tool that can be used to address tragic accidents.

“Not only just drinking and driving, but accidents, falls, violence and other bad things that can happen to youth and adults if they don’t consume responsibly or legally,” he said.

Underage drinking nationwide is leveling off and may even be decreasing, but Robinson said there are still a lot of unknowns due to the impact of the pandemic.

“Some are in school, some are at home, so it remains to be seen what those rates are,” he said.

Clay County H.S. is this year’s winner of the No School Spirits PSA contest. There were 47 entries from 29 high schools and middle schools across the state.

“We’re going to be awarding that school $5,000,” Robinson said about an event planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

School officials plan to use the money toward broadcasting equipment to start a new TV and radio station. They’ll also use the money for prom-related activities.

The students created a unique video along with a radio spot that will air on stations across the state this month and in August when students return to school.

“It’s really an effective tool to engage their peers in this messaging,” Robinson said.

The WVABCA is recognizing several other schools who will receive prize money. The additional winners are listed below:

2nd place — Lewis County High School, $2,500
3rd place — Shady Spring High School, $1,000
4th place — Tolsia High School, $750
5th place — Tyler Consolidated High School, $750

The DUI Simulator will be at Gilmer High School later this week. Stops will be made at high schools in the state through May 2.

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month.

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