Columbia County Sheriff's Department To Receive Funding For Dwi Education For Schools

Stephen M. Saland

November 02, 2006

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office will soon be providing fatal vision goggles and training equipment for DWI education to school districts throughout the county, thanks to a grant secured from Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie).

The fatal vision goggles, also known as "Drunk-Busters", when used with a driving simulator, simulate effects of impairment, including reduced alertness, slowed reaction time, confusion, visual distortion, alteration of depth and distance perception, reduction of peripheral vision, poor judgment and decision making, double vision, and lack of muscular coordination. The goggles represent various BAC levels and allow students to experience the effects of alcohol. These effects are based on the average person consuming alcohol under average circumstances.

"We greatly appreciate Senator Saland’s support of our efforts to combat the problem of underage drinking," said Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr. "While the combined efforts of law enforcement and non law enforcement agencies throughout Columbia County have brought much needed attention to the issue over the years, police officers still investigate serious and fatal accidents caused by underage drinking. The fatal vision goggles will benefit our efforts with young people in Columbia County by providing them a hands-on experience of the effects of driving while under the influence and will hopefully prevent further tragedies."

"I would like to thank Senator Saland for his assistance in purchasing this equipment for our schools," said Jessica Nabozny, Columbia County STOP DWI Coordinator and Director of Youth. "I've used these goggles at educational exposes. They give a realistic picture of what someone would feel like under the influence. I think young people will take driving while intoxicated more seriously if they are exposed to this technology in a structured classroom setting. Underage drinking has become such a major problem in Columbia County that anything we can use as a deterrent is well worth it. I applaud Senator Saland's support of our efforts to decrease underage drinking."

"A recent tragic history of injuries and fatalities in Columbia County due to young people driving while impaired have highlighted the need to address this issue," said Scott Hunter, Chatham School Superintendent. "Anything we can do to assist students become better drivers and more aware of the dangers of driving while under the influence is critically important. I have had some experience with a similar program in my former school district and saw the positive impact of the technology. Through the simulation, students became aware that they were much less capable of doing even the simplest of tasks. I applaud Senator Saland for helping us take a step towards addressing this real problem with very real and devastating consequences."

"I am pleased to assist the Sheriff's Office with their efforts to educate children of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs," said Senator Saland. "Tragic deaths and injuries associated with drinking before the age of 21, are the tip of the iceberg in the compelling crisis of underage drinking," said Senator Saland. "To address this serious public health crisis, we need to develop more effective strategies to curb underage drinking, such as the use of the fatal vision goggles technology. Through the use of the goggles, students will have the opportunity to experience the effects of alcohol impairment at various BAC levels without being behind the wheel of a vehicle. This technology will show them the effects of drinking and driving and will hopefully save lives. It is educational and, at the same time, should serve as a deterrent."