NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Municipal Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse, with support by the New Providence Police Department and the New Providence School District, held a two-day program at New Providence High School to educate the Juniors and Seniors on the dangers of drunk driving. 

The Junior and Senior classes at New Providence High School entered the gym early Thursday morning to get a sobering look at the effects of distracted and drunk driving. Timed to coincide with Prom weekend in New Providence, the bleachers started filling up first period for the second day of a two-day program: to remind students to make good decisions during the upcoming Prom weekend.

The program began Wednesday when New Providence Police Sergeant Dennis Carovillano, accompanied by the new School Resource Officer Michael Carlino, visited the students.  They held an open forum throughout the day with conversation regarding the legal, financial and emotional consequences of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).  

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On Thursday, students were presented with the Save A Life Tour, which consisted of a video presentation and two driving simulators. The Save A Life Tour is an advanced and high-impact safe driving awareness program. Beginning with a video, the program jumps into a presentation with personal stories including the loss of loved ones. The students experienced the operation of both a delayed reaction driving simulator (simulating the effects of driving while intoxicated) and a distracted driving simulator (texting while driving). 

Another station was manned by School Resource Officer Calino, Sgt. Carovillano and Lt. Daniel Henn, who provided students with the opportunity to perform roadside sobriety tests while wearing Fatal Vision Goggles, simulating the visual effects of high levels of intoxication.

Before they started the simulations, Lt. Henn spoke to the students about prom weekend, “This is your last hurrah, you’re saying your last goodbyes before you leave high school and going your separate ways. But this is not just about our being concerned about you making good decisions, it’s about being concerned that you get home Monday after having a good time.”

Principal Lauren Zirpoli spoke to the students that accidents can happen to anyone,  “These videos are very difficult to watch; these things can happen to people like me and people like you. They can happen to great people who come from great families who have been taught to make the right decisions, but at times we may have poor judgment.” Zirpoli urged her students to reach out to friends in need, “If you see a friend who’s having poor judgment, you step in and you help them. I urge you all this weekend, to be one another’s friend. I can’t wait for Monday or Tuesday when you’re all back.”

While the students were crowding around the simulators to watch their friends try to navigate the distracted and drunk driving simulators and putting on the Fatal Vision goggles to take sobriety tests, they all seemed to agree that it was effective, “I thought it was really hard to drive while texting. I think it was a good learning experience, it really shows a real-life situation. It made it more realistic for me,” said Megan, a junior. “I was really bad at it; I was terrible. It made you think five seconds in advance, which was hard to get used to. It was hard to control the car,” added a senior.

The mission of the New Providence Municipal Alliance is to achieve a drug-free community and improve and enhance the quality of life for all who work and live in the Borough of New Providence through a community-based approach to prevent alcoholism and drug use. Some of their programs are D.A.R.E., Every 15 Minutes, Project Graduation, Red Ribbon Week and Peer Leadership.