Learning Under the Influence

Tonight was week seven of Radnor’s Citizen Police Academy, which my son and I are participating in. Next week will be our final class, followed by a graduation ceremony the following week. I plan to write a reflection on the experience after all is said and done, but I wanted to briefly write about one particular aspect of tonight’s class.

One of the topics tonight was DUI. After providing an overview of what is DUI, how someone is tested for DUI, and what the consequences are if found guilty. Needless to say, the legal and financial consequences if found guilty can be significant. In addition, there is the possibility of having to live with the consequences of having harmed or killed someone while under the influence.

At the end of the presentation, the police officers had each of us individually perform the field sobriety tests. One of those tests involves walking heel-to-toe down a straight line. Since no one had been drinking, or at least I assumed that no one would come to police academy under the influence, the officers had us don a pair of goggles that would replicate what it would be like to have a blood alcohol content of about 15%. The goggles are known as Fatal Vision goggles and are made by Innocorp.

As I watched other people struggle with trying to walk a straight line while wearing the goggles (and a couple of people almost toppled over), I thought how bad can it be.

Well I found out soon enough. As soon as I put on the goggles, the yellow tape straight line that had been put on the floor now seemed oddly distorted, and I had trouble understanding where one foot was relative to my other foot.

None of us passed the test, and one of the police officers asked us if we could imagine driving while wearing such goggles. It was a scary thought; there is little doubt that all of us would have gotten into an accident.

It really brought home the message of the dangers of driving under the influence.

As the slogan says, “DUI, It’s Just Not Worth It.”

Here’s a video demonstration of what it’s like to wear these¬†special goggles:

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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