Alcohol awareness event gives students an inside look at the dangers of drinking and driving.
By Tress-Marie Landa
Students can view the crumpled wreckage of a drunk driver’s car, don special goggles to experience the distorted vision of inebriation and volunteer to take a field sobriety test at a free alcohol awareness event 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 6 in the mall.
Hosted by student life’s health promotions team, the event urges students to make better choices behind the wheel.
For the fourth annual presentation at this college officers from the San Antonio Police Department’s Central SAFFE (San Antonio Fear Free Environment) will lead the event. SAFFE officers work closely with residents in specific areas and neighborhoods within the city, participate in school and youth programs and serve as a resource in those communities.
SAPD will provide beer googles to give insight on what it looks and feels like to be over the legal drinking limit while trying to drive or do other basic functions. With the goggles, which look similar to swimming goggles, students will experience double vision, blurriness, loss of depth perception and coordination.
“The goggles each have a different simulated level of intoxication that is over the legal limit of .08,” San Antonio Police Sgt. Rolando Sandoval said. “Students can volunteer to try a field sobriety test by performing the 10-step ‘heel to toe’ exercise we conduct when you are pulled over for drunk driving.”
This is not an easy task for someone under the influence, Sandoval said. “It is extremely difficult to perform. Of course the levels of intoxication depend on weight, and how much you ate that day, but if you are stopped, none of that will matter.”
The goggles have been a part of SAPD’s presentation the last four years and they are an excellent tool to get students to see the severity of drinking and driving, said Mary Dayton, this college’s health promotions adviser and coordinator.
“This is a great way to realize how impaired you are once you put them on,” she said. “You think you are OK to drive. But then you realize you are not.”
She encouraged students to ask police officers questions about drunk driving and how a DWI charge could affect their lives permanently.
“This event gets them involved. The officers are friendly and it’s fun, so we get a good turnout,” Dayton said.
There will also be a drunk driver’s wrecked car on campus as well as a half-cab half-police car to show that students can either make smart choices by planning ahead to take a cab home, or get pulled over and go to jail for driving under the influence.
“The driver of the wrecked vehicle did not survive the crash,” Sandoval said. “She entered the underpass of the highway going on the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into several vehicles.”
SAPD also has assembled a work of art that includes multiple bumpers from drunk driver’s wrecked cars with painted messages such as “think before you drink.”
“Each semester we have this event because it is very important,” Dayton said. “It is paid for by the student activity fee, which is embedded in students’ tuition and helps to fund events that promote student safety.”
For more information, call Dayton at 210-486-0127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.