Think before you drink: VR saving lives

We all have probably been guilty of having one too many drinks during the holidays and getting behind the wheel. For this reason, The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with Tombras has developed a virtual reality game (“Last Call”) that mimics a typical night out and challenges your ability to function in hopes of diminishing holiday drunk driving.

The game is targeted at millennial males, as research has shown that shock value does not resonate with this segment, but the game is really for anybody who goes out for a fun night. Throughout the game you’re asked to make different choices, from your drinking (drink meter keeps track of your alcohol intake), talking to your “friends”, playing darts and everything in between…including getting a bit foggy as the night goes on. At the end of the night you are the “designated driver” and get behind the wheel. Based off your alcoholic intake, you are either pulled over and “suffer” the virtual consequences or the police just pass you by on the road.

This game is more or less a PSA, but it's executed in a much more impactful way by making it feel like a fun experience. The idea is if you make it fun and give people a first hand experience as to how drinking affects their motor skills, they may think twice about getting behind the wheel. I think that it's great that the NHTSA is trying different ways to reach people and using technology to do so. VR is being used more and more for different entertainment purposes, but maybe this game will actually save a life or two. The NHTSA reported that over 10,000 people died of drunk driving related incidents in 2015, with 92 people dying every day in December of ’15.

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