As Real As It Gets: Organization Uses Media To Demonstrate Impacts Of Impaired Driving

Prairie View Prevention Director: 'It's a long-term impact on your life'

Last year, there were 283 alcohol-related crashes in Sioux Falls. As a result, 137 people were injured. With increased drinking around the holidays, Prairie View Prevention Services wanted to use the media to show others just how much impaired driving can impact your life. KDLT’s Jill Johnson was our test subject.

Today, I’m no longer Jill Johnson the reporter, but a mother of four who just done working the night shift and had drinks at breakfast. I just dropped the kids off at school.

Prairie View Prevention Services Director Darcy Jensen explained the driving simulator, “It might have you going slower or faster. The steering wheel may not operate as you normally thought it should.”

It’s the simulator’s job to work as if I were driving drunk. I fail to look and don’t slow down or stop when I should,

Driving I ask, “How do I stop? It’s not stopping.”

Jensen said, “It’s frustrating when you’re driving, thinking I should be doing better.”

Driving slow, a car rear-ends me, injuring the other driver. A police officer has ordered me to take a sobriety test. The glasses, they also simulate being intoxicated.

I asked about the glasses, “This is a point-1?” Sioux Falls Police Officer Jason Christensen responded, “That’s what it’s supposed to simulate.”

walk-the-line-jill-1Nine steps with my arms at my side following the blue line don’t go as planned.

I struggled trying to put one foot in front the other,  “2, 3, 4.”

The second test I do even worse. I can’t keep my foot in the air for 2 seconds, let alone the required 30. When I asked how I did, Officer Christensen responded with ‘horrible’.

Christensen said, “You would be placed under arrest for driving under the influence and you would be taken to jail.”

I guess it’s off to the Minnehaha Co. State’s Attorney. Aaron McGowan says I’ll be charged a DWI, child abuse and vehicular battery.

dui-simulation-jill-3McGowan said, “Your charges are quite serious in this case, with a potential penitentiary sentence.”

Along with lawyer fees, I head to the insurance office to find out how much this is going to cost me.

“I bet they’re going to skyrocket right,” I asked. Farmer Insurance Representative Douglas Beltman answers, “Yeah. Yup.”

Depending on the circumstances, my rate could increase anywhere from 30 to 200 percent. That’s if they don’t drop me.

“Our hope was to really have people understand that ,” said Jensen.

They certainly got my attention.

Prairie View also took us through prevention methods. They say it’s important to talk to your children about the dangers of driving impaired. As an adult, if you are going to drink, they say line up a ride. Free Tipsy Tow services are being offered in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton through Jan. 2. They will take you, your car, and one passenger home within a 15 mile radius from the point you are picked up. AAA also officer recipes for Mocktails or alcohol-free drinks that you can offer guests during the holidays.

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