Davenport police are putting extra officers on duty Saturday night, saying their records show a jump in traffic crashes linked to underage drinking during prom time. Many law-enforcement agencies are trying proactive ways to get the attention of young drivers. A student named “Todd” at North Polk High School says when he got to school this morning there was a totaled car sitting out front. He calls it “pretty cool” and describes the roof gone, tires flat, doors crushed in with all the windows shattered, and the student says he’s sure that if anyone had been in a car that had that kind of damage they wouldn’t have lived through it. The students were told that the car in this case had been crushed mechanically, just to show what could happen in a crash. Most students drive to the rural school north of Saylorville Lake, and today they were also greeted by a fleet of law-enforcement officers as their schoolday began. Police, patrol and county cars with lights flashing and some E-M-Ts from Polk City were waiting at the corners and stopped every car — giving Life Savers candy to students who were found wearing seatbelts, and for those not buckled up, small suckers brand-named “Dum-Dums.” He says about 270 came in cars this morning and the event turned up 90-percent of the drivers wearing seatbelts. The morning also included an assembly at North Polk High School. Every high-schooler watched a 20-minute video that showed graphic, bloody photos and video of people killed in drunk-driving accidents, which he says “made everyone think.” There was also a hands-on exercise in how drinking can affect people’s performance. The officers brought “fatality goggles,” which are blurry and replicate the experience of being drunk, and this student wore them as he tried to shoot free throws in the school gym, adding “they weren’t even close.” While it may not stop every student from making bad decisions, Todd says it was a good way to make them think and he suspects many will consider the dangers of drinking and driving.
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