Journalists get new view of impaired driving

Impairment goggles may not be stylish eyewear but they are powerful tools used to educate people of all ages about the consequences of alcohol misuse and abuse.

Treasure Valley video journalists recently learned how when they donned the simulation goggles and tried to beat field sobriety tests and navigate a police cruiser through the Idaho State Police motor-vehicle track in Meridian.

The demonstration was part of the One-Team kickoff of a high-visibility education and enforcement campaign asking motorists to not drink and drive.

Donning goggles that simulated moderate impairment (.07 Blood Alcohol Count – B.A.C.) to highly impaired (.17 to .20 B.A.C.), reporters participated in standard field sobriety tests such as walking a straight line heal-to-toe or the one-legged stand.

Each journalist took a tour of ISP’s motor vehicle track and tried to navigate intersections, obey traffic control signs and keep a vehicle traveling in its lane.

Law enforcement officers use the goggles as part of their education outreach activities. After wearing the goggles for even a short amount of time, the most sober person will begin to lose balance and equilibrium, exhibiting behaviors that are strikingly similar to someone under the influence of alcohol.

ITD’s Office of Highway Safety funds purchase of the goggles for law enforcement agencies using money provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Photos: KTVB reporter Justin Corr dons the impairment goggles (above left) and tries to back a car through a portion of ISP’s closed track. A smashed orange cone was the only victim of attempts to navigate a car while wearing the impaired goggles (above right). Jennifer Auh, with KIVI-TV, attempts to walk a straight line (top right) while wearing the impaired vision goggles.

Published 1-6-2012