CHICO, Calif. — On Tuesday, Chico State students simulated driving while intoxicated by using a touring virtual reality simulator.
The simulator made it's way to the Chico State campus as part of the Arrive Alive Tour that brings the simulator to campuses across the U.S. The simulators owner, UNITE, partnered with WellCat Substance Abuse Prevention & Education at CSUC to bring the machine over.
Students could choose between three driving scenarios that simulated driving while drunk, under the influence of marijuana, or distracted by texting.
The experience gave students a first-hand look at just how difficult each task was to hopefully prevent them from attempting it in real life.
Chris Nicodemus, a commander with Chico State's University Police Department, says these types of educational tools can go a long way in preventing someone from getting behind the wheel drunk.
"You knock on someone's door at night to explain to them that their loved one passed away as a result of a senseless act, or a victim of someone's poor choices. It's really preventable," Nicodemus said. "Programs like [Arrive Alive] really establish that.
Chico is certainly no stranger to driving under the influence arrests. According to online records obtained from the Chico Police Department's crime portal from February 11th, there have been over 20 DUI arrests so far in 2020.
So far in February, there has been an arrest in eight of the last ten days.
While the simulation can be an enjoyable test of virtual skill, the hope is that participants understand the dangers of driving impaired, and don't risk trying it in the physical world.
More information on WellCat Prevention can be found here. To get more information on Arrive Alive and future tour stops, you can head to the program's website.