Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is injured in a drunk driving accident, and every day, these accidents claim the lives of 28 people.
The Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) hope to change these statistics through the Fatal Vision Program, which educates high school students on dangers of driving under the influence.
ALEA public information officers (PIOs) will be in charge of scheduling Fatal Vision events at high schools across the state. The Federation donated over $50,000 to purchase equipment for the program, including seven trailers, seven utility vehicles and 14 sets of simulation goggles.
“Far too many people know the devastation and sorrow of losing a loved one because of drunk driving,” said Jimmy Parnell, Federation president. “With the statewide expansion of Fatal Vision, the ultimate goal is to save lives. We want to do whatever we can to help the young people of this state understand the reality of drunk driving, which will hopefully lead to them making better decisions.”
In the program, supervised students drive a small utility vehicle through a course lined by traffic cones while wearing special goggles that simulate the impaired vision of someone who is drunk. The drivers are rated on the number of cones struck by the vehicle.
Recently, Fatal Vision added an element to teach students the dangers of distracted driving.
The drivers are asked simple questions and must text responses while driving the course.
Fatal Vision started in 2010 in Baldwin, Escambia and Monroe counties.
Since then, more than 9,000 students at public high schools in those three counties have completed the program.
“A program like Fatal Vision leaves a lasting impact on high school students who often think they are invincible,” said ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier. “This first-hand experience lets students see just how dangerous driving while intoxicated is and the extreme threat these drivers present to others on the road. We are proud to be taking on this program and are thankful to the Federation for supporting it financially.”
Visit AlfaFarmers.org for information on how to schedule a Fatal Vision program in your area.