RIVERSIDE, Mo. -- While it had the look and feel of a sobriety checkpoint, police at Park Hill South High School weren’t actually arresting teens for drinking and driving.
It certainly looked realistic, however, and that’s the point.
With prom and graduation season just getting under way, police say teen drivers are entering a dangerous stretch of weeks.
“We see an increase in kids drinking and driving and getting into crashes,” Platte County Sherrif's Dep. Matt Fleishans said. “It’s that invincibility feeling. They don’t understand that there are some serious consequences.”
To hammer the point home, officers handcuffed teens at Park Hill South on Friday and had them sit in the back of a cruiser or a police prisoner transport van.
“If I actually got arrested, I would feel pretty humiliated,” freshman Audrey Shade said. “Just to sit in the car, I wouldn’t want to be arrested.”
Students also had the opportunity to drive a police golf cart through a controlled course with goggles that simulate the feeling of driving drunk.
“I remember when we did it my sophomore year. I know when we were getting out of the parking lot the next day, people were driving a lot safer and they were not texting and driving,” senior Faith Nagel said.
“Last year, unfortunately, we had a record-setting year,” KCPD Sgt. Christopher Bentch said. “We had 99 fatalities, and over half of those were impaired drivers. And that’s something that absolutely can be affected by people’s decision-making. Those accidents did not need to happen.”
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.