Simulated Program Offers Lessons for Young Drivers


Driver’s education students at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School had a hands-on lesson in the dangers of drinking and driving thanks to a special visit from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 5.

As part of the STOPPED community program, students participated in an activity where they drove a pedal car through a cone maze while wearing goggles that impair their vision and balance as if under the influence of alcohol. After the simulated driving portion, students then had to wear the goggles and walk through the maze with a partner, trying to avoid the cones and get home safely.

Thirty-six juniors and seniors are currently participating in the district’s driver’s education program. Driver’s education instructor Karen Perrone and Deputy Thomas Indence have been working together to present the program to Copiague students for the last five years.

“Any accident involving alcohol is preventable,” Perrone said. “This program brings the scary truth of drinking and driving up close to students in a safe way. If one student leaves a little smarter, it’s worth it. If they share the message with friends and they get it, even better!”