West Virginia University is putting students in the drivers seat to educate them about the dangers of drinking and driving.

A driving under the influence (DUI) simulator event is planned for Thursday, Oct. 11, from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in front of the WVU Mountainlair.

The Safety SIMulator, designed to look like the interior of a car, features a dashboard, steering wheel and drivers seatalong with a large video screen that allows students to experience what its like driving through heavy traffic, fog or even snow while impaired, said Ruth Kershner, an associate professor in the WVU Department of Community Medicine.

Participants will feel first-hand how alcohol impairs their ability to steer and brake, and the danger when other drivers have been drinking.

In 2006, about 17,600 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those deaths accounted for more than 40 percent of the total traffic fatalities in the United States last year.

The DUI simulator event is sponsored by the WVU Department of Community Medicine, the Pennsylvania DUI Association and State Farm Insurance agent Parker Hall. It is free and open to the public. Volunteers from the Community Medicine Student Association will be assisting at the event.

For more information on the Safety SIMulator, go to http://padui.org/sim_tx.htm .