“Watch Ur BAC” Goes Over Dangers of Drunk Driving with Students

Story written by CHS Junior, Alberto Huichapa

April 11, 2017 (More photos) - The "Watch Ur BAC" program from Texas A&M University visited the high school campus on March 21 to educate students on the dangers of drunk driving. They presented a slideshow and had drunk driving simulations to give students an idea on how dangerous driving under the influence can be. 

"We came from Texas A&M University and we're a Texas Highway Department grant funded program," program coordinator Ben Smith said. "The BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration. We travel the state of Texas and [teach students at] high school and college campuses to raise awareness on drugs and alcohol." 

Students learned that Texas was the nation's leading state in drunk driving deaths. In 2015, it was reported that 950 deaths had occurred due to the driver being under the influence. They also learned that high school students in Texas have the worst drinking habits nationwide. 

"I think this is a very important program that the state of Texas is bringing to Center High School," Coach John McGarvey said. "Our principal, Mr. Gregory, is working with the state of Texas and all the agencies that have concerns about consumption of alcohol where it would endanger the lives of our students as well as the people around them." 

The legal limit in Texas for blood alcohol concentration level for anyone 21 or older is .08. However, the average breath test for DWI arrests in Texas was .14 to .17 blood alcohol concentration level. Program coordinator Janet Stuart took this information and programmed the simulation cars to show students what it's really like to drive intoxicated. 

"In our simulation, you sit in the driver seat but you won't do so hot because there is impairment built into the steering," Stuart said. "We have this goggles here that are simulating a blood alcohol concentration level .12 to .15. which is about the average drunk driver level in our state.

”It's the best way we can simulate that loss of muscle control and coordination that comes with drinking alcohol."

Many of the students do not know the consequences that come with drinking and driving. There are fines up to $500, driver's license suspensions, community service, and ultimately, death. 

"It's a crazy and not smart idea someone should do," senior Mario Riley said. "It was important to see that people are trying to help us, and help us learn more about driving and being under the influence of alcohol."

Drinking and driving will remain a problem. However, programs like "Watch Ur BAC" work to reduce the numbers of deaths and arrests for drivers under the influence. 

"If you are gonna drink, drinking and driving is a no-no," McGarvey said. "It's an endangerment to other people around us. There's no way you can replace the value of a human life.