University Using High Tech to Warn About Drinking and Driving

How do you act when you're drunk or on drugs? Area teens and pre-teens will have a chance to find out without taking any drugs or alcohol thanks to a new community service program offered by Texas A&M International University which employs high-tech "Fatal Vision" simulation goggles.

Fatal Vision program coordinator Sylvia Steele, an officer with the A&M International University Police Department, said the state-of-the-art goggles offer a safe, effective way to demonstrate the dangers of inebriation.

"These Fatal Vision simulator goggles allow wearers to experience firsthand what it is like to be impaired. Special prisms in the goggles mimic the blurry, distorted vision and dizziness that people experience when they are drunk or take drugs," explained Steele.

Because the Fatal Vision experience is so realistic, the goggles have proved to be an effective teaching tool.

"It's one thing to tell young people about the dangers of driving while under the influence. But it's quite a powerful lesson to let them see how they or their friends can't perform even simple tasks like walking a straight line while wearing the simulator goggles," she said.

Schools and civic organizations that would like to schedule a Fatal Vision program may contact Officer Steele at the University by calling 326-2100 or visiting University Police offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, Lower Level Room 002.

"Over 6,000 young people die in motor vehicle accidents each year. Over one-third of these accidents are alcohol-related. Programs like Fatal Vision can show youngsters how dangerous intoxicants are. We hope the community will take advantage of this free program," she added.

For more information on the Fatal Vision program, please contact the A&M International University Police Department at 326-2100. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu