Washougal High School students to gain full DUI experience without the alcohol

This year’s assembly on Fri., April 26, coincides with Prom Week when students will be driving at night to attend prom

WASHOUGAL — Washougal High School conducts an “Every 15 Minutes” assembly when a senior chooses to organize it for their senior project. The program includes a realistic and impactful scenario of just what can happen when students make wrong choices behind the wheel.

This year’s assembly on Fri., April 26, coincides with Prom Week when students will be driving at night to attend prom. The WA State Patrol, Washougal Police Department, Target Zero, and State Farm will participate in this year’s assembly to help drive the message home.

“We want our students to make safe decisions,” said Aaron Hansen, principal of Washougal High School. “As we all know impaired and/or distracted driving can be extremely dangerous and result in terrible accidents, especially among teens,” he added.

Sgt. David Divis from the Washington State Patrol will be bringing their department’s Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU) and provide demonstrations to students. The MIDU, which was made possible in part through a grant from State Farm, is a 36-foot motorhome specially designed to serve as a mobile processing station for impaired drivers. The MIDU is equipped with three evidential breath test instruments, three report writing stations, two holding cells, computer aided dispatching, and a dark room for drug evaluations. It is used to support all law enforcement agencies in the state with processing impaired drivers. This speeds up the process enabling the officers to quickly return to active search for additional impaired drivers.

“Young people know that drinking and driving is bad … but many have never been affected by the tragedies caused from driving under the influence,’ said Sgt. Zane Freschette of the Washougal Police Department. “A visit to the Mobile Impaired Driving Unit offers an opportunity for our students to be impacted first-hand without having to suffer the horrors of losing a loved one.”

Target Zero, a statewide coalition whose aim is to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by the year 2030 will participate in the assembly. State Farm agent Jeremiah Stephen will also talk to students on the impact tickets and a DUI will have on their insurance in the future. Said Stephen, “State Farm strongly supports teen driver safety and we are proud to work with local police departments to bring safety education to schools.

“High School students may not realize that a normal teenage day can be changed forever because of distracted or impaired driving,’’ Stephen said. “We want everyone to stay safe and keep other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe.”

Principal Hansen summed it up by saying, “We want our students to be thoughtful whether they are driving, riding with someone or have friends who are potentially making a decision that could impact their lives forever as well as the lives of others.”

Information provided by Clark Co. Traffic Safety Task Force — Target Zero.

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