Over the past month, Trooper Scott Miller of the Iowa State Patrol has been pounding home a message to southwest Iowa high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving.
“The message I’m trying to get out this month with proms and graduations coming up is to make positive choices,” Miller said. “I want them to think about the choices they make. I want them to make positive choices that are healthy and going to keep them safe.”
Always looking for new ways to get his message across, Miller makes it a point each spring to coordinate activities that can provide students with a visual understanding of the consequences that can come with driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
This spring, Miller and some of his fellow troopers saw to it that more than 200 freshmen from East Mills and Glenwood Community High Schools were given the opportunity to drive a golf cart through an obstacle course while wearing special drunk-driving goggles.
The goggles impair the vision of the driver and give the students an idea of the impact alcohol consumption can have on one’s physical well being. Many of the students have a difficult time maneuvering the golf cart through the construction cone-lined obstacle course while wearing the goggles.
“It is fun, but in the back of their minds, I want them to remember that there is a serious message being taught here,” Miller said. “Hopefully they don’t drink at all, but I want them to especially know what can happen when a person drinks and drives.”
The golf cart obstacle course is just one tool Miller has utilized over the years to get his message across. He’s staged mock accident scenes, brought in victims of drunk-driving accidents to deliver impact speeches, given demonstrations of field sobriety tests and spoken at school assemblies.
“My opinion is whatever we can do to keep these kids safe, we’ll try it,” Miller said. “We’ll continue to do stuff and hit them with different things and just remind them all the time about making positive choices.”
Miller firmly believes that reminding teens about the importance of making positive choices in their lives is a message they can never hear too often.