Peach County High students learn road dangers

awoolen@macon.comSeptember 18, 2013 

FORT VALLEY -- The group of juniors and seniors from Peach County High School laughed and pointed, but the lesson was learned. Drive drunk, and bad things happen.

DeAngelo Banks proved the point perfectly as he donned the goggles that simulate how an impaired person sees the road. As Banks tried to drive a golf cart through a path of bright orange cones, he ended up hitting the cones and going over the curb into a grassy area.

“At first, I was at the cones, and then it was the grass,” the 17-year-old senior said.

That is what Powell Harrelson, law enforcement services director at the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, hoped would happen.

In the 10 years he has been participating in the Traffic Injury Prevention Caravan, which was in Peach County Sept. 10, he has never seen a person make it through the cones without hitting one. The caravan was part of an effort to reduce drunk driving, texting and driving, and seat belt violations.

The group also brought a rollover demonstration that stressed the importance of using seat belts. The students were shocked at how easily a dummy in a truck fell out when the rollover occurred.

“So much of what we try to do is make it relevant. These types of life experiences are real,” Peach County High School Principal Bruce Mackey said.

Along with the stop at the high school, the caravan visited Byron Elementary School, where Harrelson said there were many people who weren’t using proper restraints for their children.

The caravan is being used to educate people on the laws as well as perform car seat safety checks for children in both cars and day care vans.

At Peach County High, the education hit home.

Austin Webb, also 17 and a senior, tried to send a text and drive the golf cart.

“I died,” he said, metaphorically, of course.

Webb said he doesn’t text and drive and will make sure his friends don’t either after this experience.

“It’s pretty scary,” he said.

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