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Simulating an Alcohol-Impaired Car Accident May Help to Prevent Crashes

Virtual Simulator Reveals Hazards of Drunk Driving

Choosing to drink alcohol before driving can result in a severe or even deadly car accident. Period.

While many of us know that there are serious risks associated with drinking and driving, it is difficult to imagine just how impaired alcohol consumption can make us when we are behind the wheel. According to a recent article from BBC News, a new drunk-driving simulator developed by Diageo, an alcohol maker, aims to demonstrate to drivers just how dangerous alcohol-impaired driving can be.

How does the virtual reality simulator work? It starts with a four-minute video that shows viewers a three-car accident from 360-degree angles. Then, the simulator follows each of the three vehicles involved in the crash. In the first, viewers follow a woman who is celebrating a recent career success. Another vehicle has two new parents as occupants. The third car shows a group of friends who are en-route to a party. The simulator shows the scenario in which the accident occurs from the vantage points of each of the vehicles. Ultimately, the women who has just achieved a career breakthrough is the one responsible for the impaired-driving accident. As the article explains, the video shows “the woman, who has been drinking with work colleagues, [as she] tries to overtake one of the other cars.”

What makes the video experience feel real to participants? Viewers wear virtual reality (VR) headsets. In addition, viewers can sit in a “D-Box chair” at some of the screening events, “which shakes as the cars collide and spin out of control.” The video is also available in three venues that can be accessed from the comfort of a viewer’s home: Facebook 360, YouTube 360, and a virtual reality app through The New York Times. Viewers can wear a variety of VR headsets, including those made by Samsung and Google.

Getting the Facts About Drunk Driving Accidents 

How often do alcohol-impaired car accidents happen? A fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites the following statistics:

  • 9,967 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2014;
  • Alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for almost one-third (31%) of all deaths in traffic accidents;
  • About 20% of traffic fatalities involving children between the ages of 0 and 14 involved a drunk driver;
  • Around 50% of kids killed in alcohol-impaired crashes were passengers in the vehicle with the drunk driver;
  • More than 1.1 million people were arrested for DUIs/DWIs in 2014; and
  • 121 million adults self-report drinking and driving each year, meaning that only about one percent are arrested. 

Drunk driving accidents happen too often. Perhaps more real life simulations like the above will help deter people from this behavior. In the event that you or someone you love was injured in an alcohol-impaired crash, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights.

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