WVHS students learn about impaired driving

From Staff Reports

Posted 10/29/17

Pairs of goggles that simulate the effects of impairment gave Walker Valley High School students in a Criminal Justice class a new perspective.Bradley County Sheriff Office instructors Lt. Julie …

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WVHS students learn about impaired driving

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Pairs of goggles that simulate the effects of impairment gave Walker Valley High School students in a Criminal Justice class a new perspective.

Bradley County Sheriff Office instructors Lt. Julie Quinn and Deputy George Campbell visited the classroom to teach students about state laws which govern intoxicated driving, field sobriety tests that are performed by law-enforcement officers, and the consequences of driving while impaired.

Additionally, students learned how impaired driving affects response time, vision, comprehension, coordination and reaction time.

During the instruction, students had a chance to participate in different aspects of field sobriety tests with and without impairment goggles to include the heel-to-toe walk and one leg stand. The goggles worn by students imitated different levels of alcohol impairment and intoxication referred to as blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) which ranged from .04 percent to .35 percent which is listed in six classifications;

Low-level goggle / .04 -.06 percent  (B.A.C.)

Low-level night goggle / .06-.08 percent (B.A.C.)

Impairment goggle / .08 - .15 percent (B.A.C.)

Twilight Vision goggle / .15 - .25 percent (B.A.C.)

Totally Wasted goggle / .26 - .35 percent (B.A.C.)

Drug Impairment goggle

While wearing the goggles, students experienced what it was like to experience sobriety tests after too many drinks and being impaired by a drug. A video showing the students being administered the field sobriety tests was posted on the Bradley County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page last week.

Sheriff Eric Watson stated, “Making students aware of the dangers and consequences of driving while impaired is the best prevention tool. One of our agency’s goals is to educate teen drivers that making responsible decisions behind the wheel of a vehicle could simply be the decision between life and death, not only for them but other drivers on the roadway.”

According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office’s (T.H.S.O.) website, in 2004 the state of Tennessee experienced 439 alcohol impaired driving fatalities, but the number has decreased tremendously from year to year. Statewide there has been a 54% decrease since 2004, with 239 alcohol impaired driving fatalities that were recorded in 2015. The 2016 statistics were not available on T.H.S.O.’s website, but are expected to be published in the near future.

The sheriff’s office was recently awarded a 2017-2018 traffic safety grant by T.H.S.O. that will be utilized to provide traffic safety education, in addition to traffic enforcement to pro-actively protect roadways in the Cleveland / Bradley County community.

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