Wiregrass Newsroom: Church youth group experiences drunk driving

Ashford, AL (WSFA)-- Imagine wearing blurred vision goggles and trying to drive. That's exactly what teenagers at First Baptist Church in Ashford had to do.

"It was crazy, it was like blurred vision. I couldn't tell what was going on. It was intense," says Robert Dickard, a student in the church's youth group.

It's all part of the Alabama State Troopers' SIDNE program, or the Simulated Impaired Driving Experience--teaching kids to drive more responsibly.

Statistics show that 48% of Alabama high school students have admitted to having a drink within the last month.  And Alabama State Troopers are trying to combat that with the goggles and a go-cart.

"We're here to change and modify their driving behavior, because we're having an increase in accidents," says State Trooper, Kevin Cook.

And for 15 year-old Austin Carlisle, having impaired eyes was...eye-opening.

"You thought you were a little bit in control, but you weren't because your reactions were delayed and you just really couldn't control it. It really brought to my attention that drunk driving is really, it's horrible."

But drunk driving isn't the only thing troopers are focused on.

"Texting while driving is becoming a big problem now among teenage drivers, so we've actually given them a phone, let them go through the course the first time with the phone, and they're having trouble maneuvering through the course," says Cook.

But Austin, who gets his driver's license in July, says he's watching his actions a little more closely.

"It really brought it to my attention that when I'm out there driving, I'm really not the only one out there, and I may not be making the bad decisions, but someone else out there may be."

It's something troopers hope they can drive home to teens before they hit the highway.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney