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All senses on deck

Goggles designed to simulate impaired senses due to alcohol and drug abuse were employed as part of a Smart Choices program at Ballston Spa Hight School.

Goggles designed to simulate impaired senses due to alcohol and drug abuse were employed as part of a Smart Choices program at Ballston Spa Hight School. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— “Our goal is that we’re helping the students make good choices. If they make good choices behind the wheel, maybe that transfers on into life. … It’s not only being the driver, but a passenger and to say, ‘NoI’m not riding with you, you’ve been drinking. Stop speeding, or stop texting while you’re driving.’ It takes everybody to make the roads safe,” said Dort.

A demonstration put on by New York State troopers demonstrating the consequences of texting while driving was very popular with the students.

“It engaged everyone, even if you weren’t the driver, and individualized for each kid how they drove and what they did wrong,” Bolster said. “For us, this year it’s very important and relevant. Our students lost a friend due to a car crash in January.”

Noelle Johnsen, who was set to graduate early, died when a truck she was riding in crashed due to excessive speed. The driver of the truck, Brian Vecchio, 18, of Ballston Spa pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide, a felony on Thursday, May 31. He faces up to four years in state prison.

“It’s not just drinking and driving, they get that message, ”Bolster said. “The idea of the texting, and your speed and you’re just an inexperienced driver to be trying to do all of this at once. Just stop and think about what you’re doing, think about the outcome. Stop, think and decide if it’s a smart choice.”

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