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Scottsdale students learn drunk, distracted driving dangers

A student attempts to drive on a simulator at an event promoting safety behind the wheel. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- About 150 students at the Thunderbird Adventist Academy got a lesson Tuesday that distracted or drunk driving could have serious consequences.

Senior Jacob Nagrette put on goggles that simulate being drunk and a Scottsdale police officer made him "walk the line," much like he would if had pulled Nagrette over for DUI.

"Everything was really distorted, I couldn't really tell where I was walking," said Nagette. "Like, to me, it seemed like I was doing good, but to everyone else, it seemed like I was just swerving all around the lines."

The students also got behind the wheel of a simulator and tried to drive while texting or making a phone call. Some of them drove so bad that, if it were real life, they would have had an accident and either ended up in the hospital or in jail.

The Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma sponsored the event.

"Distractions are responsible for over 400,000 crashes per year and many deaths," said Dr. A. Britton Christmas, a spokesman for the group. "If we can get the message out and prevent these injuries, that's really the take home message."

Christmas said it is very important to get this message out in Arizona.

"Because Arizona is one of only 11 states that does not have primary laws against texting and driving, we really see this as an opportunity to come in and get in touch with the students and the community. The reality is that if we're able to save one life here today, then we've more than done our job."

Many of the students said they will remember this day when they get behind the wheel.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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