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Scroll down for photos from the mock crash

 

IMPAIRED DRIVING SIMULATOR


The Ocean Shores Police Department has recognized the problem of underage drinking and impaired drivers in general. In an effort to help combat this problem the Ocean Shores Police Department has been actively involved in public education in these areas. The Department, in conjunction with the North Beach High School Teens Against Destructive Decisions program (TADD) has put on educational demonstrations regarding these issues. A Mock Crash was presented in which students observed an injury car crash involving an impaired driver. The presentation showed the consequences of drinking and driving. Ambulance and fire crews were dispatched, along with police to the scene of a two-car crash. Eventually, the Coroners Office arrived for one of the victims and the impaired driver was arrested. The North Beach High School then presented a memorial service for the victim. Students gave eulogies and the injured impaired driver spoke regarding his feelings about the accident and killing a friend.

Realizing a need to more actively involve students, as well as other subjects, in the learning process, the Impaired Driving Simulator was created. The simulator gives drivers hands on experience in the effects of alcohol in regards to impaired driving.

The Impaired Driving Simulator is the result of a cooperative effort headed by the Ocean Shores and Montesano Police Departments. Through the community support of Rich Hartman's Five Star Dealerships, Ocean Shores Golf Course and the Grays Harbor County Public Health and Social Services Department this program was created. Traditionally, students and young drivers were lectured on the negative impact of drinking and driving. This lecture format generally had little effect on viewers and was considered by many as simply a waste of time.

Technology advances helped to created the Fatal Vision Goggles. Fatal Vision Goggles then became a staple of impaired driving lectures. These goggles simulate the visual impairment caused by alcohol or drugs. Through the use of Fatal Vision Goggles subjects can feel the effects of reaching a blood alcohol level of anywhere between .05 to over .20 without having to take a drink of alcohol. Fatal Vision Goggles have been traditionally used as subjects attempt to pass standard field sobriety and coordination tests.

The use of the impaired driving simulator now provides a graphic visual representation as to the loss of driving coordination while intoxicated. Subjects while wearing Fatal Vision Goggles drive an electric golf cart, under the direct supervision of a law enforcement officer. The subject drives on a course marked out in a large parking lot or similar area, away from normal traffic. Initially driving the course without goggles and then again while wearing the Fatal Vision Goggles the dramatic differences can be observed by spectators. It is hoped that through the use of the impaired driving simulator that participants can actually see the effects of drinking and driving and realize the potential consequences.

The simulator has been used in school presentations as well as a county -wide drug awareness conference directed towards high school students.
North Beach High School has also used the simulator as part of their drivers education class.

If you would like more information on the Impaired Driving Simulator please contact Deputy Chief Russ Fitts


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