"Road to Reality" at UIS teaches students a lesson about driving drunk
A University of Illinois Springfield student is leading a push to educate high school and college students about the dangers of drinking and driving and texting behind the wheel.
Sophomore UIS Biology major Brandon Valerio organized the first ever “Road to Reality” at UIS. The event started with a party, followed by the mock car crash with EMS first responders rushing into action. Next, family members are shown visiting the deceased, which was followed by a mock trial of the teenage drunk driver.
“You can have people come talk to you about it and they can try and say drunken driving is bad, but until you see it first hand for yourself it really doesn’t impact you all the much,” said Valerio.
He’s hoping “Road to Reality” can help change that by sending a strong message to young adults about getting behind the wheel drunk.
For Gillespie High School student Alexis Burns, drunken driving hits close to home. A drunken driver killed her uncle. That’s one of the reasons why she decided to volunteer as an actor for the mock crash.
“I think it’s important to get the message across because the consequences really are there,” she said.
A number of high school and UIS student volunteers helped play the part of victims. Participants also got to hear from Danny Hicks, a real DUI crash survivor.
“I just really hope this drives home the message that really awful things will happen if you drive drunk,” said John Stewart, a freshman UIS International Studies major who volunteered.
Valerio plans to continue his push to stop teens from getting behind the wheel drunk and hopes students leave thinking about the painful images they witnessed.