HATTIESBURG, Miss – We hear all the time about the dangers of drinking and driving, but some students at the University of Southern Mississippi got to experience that danger firsthand, without even taking a drink.
“It kind of scared me because I didn’t know and couldn’t see where I was. So if I was drunk one day and I don’t know my surroundings, it’s dangerous because anything can happen,” that’s Sarobia Dubose explaining her experience after trying to walk a straight line while wearing “drunk goggles.” Although they didn’t simulate going over the legal blood alcohol limit of .08, it still kept her from walking like normal.
Justin Sherrod, a student at USM, said he was seeing double lines while walking with goggles that had a blood alcohol concentration of .08- .15, “My goal was just to stay in the middle of the lines.”
Members of the Behavior and Alcohol Research lab said 92% of USM students report having a designated driver. Their goal is to increase that number and make students aware of the potential impact of heavy drinking.
“It made me realize if I’m driving and I have to think that way, that’s too much thinking trying to stay straight instead of focusing on the road,” said Sherrod.
Student Government Association President Jeffrey George describes his experience while wearing goggles with a BAC of .26-.35, “It looked like it was double lines. I could have gone in this direction or that direction. So it was definitely a struggle for me to figure out what’s the right way to be walking.”
Margo Villarosa, a fourth year doctoral student with the research lab, said promoting safe drinking is only half the mission; they want to reduce the amount of drinking and driving.
“We really try to take a harm reduction approach and with the drunk goggle stimulation the students are becoming more aware of the consequences of the heavy drinking and doing it in a fun and interactive way.”