"Drunk" goggles provide sobering lessons

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Eight residents donned Drunk Buster Goggles and experienced the impact alcohol potentially has on their performance when they attended the Sept. 11 Impaired and Distracted Driving Class put on by the Englewood Police Department.

Volunteers donned three different sets of goggles and were asked to perform routine roadside sobriety tests. The goggles represented three different levels of intoxication. The first represented a blood alcohol level of .04 to .06 percent; the second a level of .08 to .15 percent; and the third represented level of  .26 to .35 percent.

Three Englewood police officers, Cliff Caskey, Brian Taylor and Mike O’Connor, each administered one of the roadside tests. Caskey had the volunteers wearing the first set of goggles go through walking a straight line and Taylor had volunteers wearing the second-level goggles try to stand on one foot for a specific length of time. O’Connor had the volunteers wearing the third-level goggles try to catch a good-size rubber ball.

“I was totally disoriented wearing the goggles and, as you might expect, the last set of goggles were the worst,” Englewood resident Steve Scrum said after going through the three tests. “I was arrested for DUI quite a few years ago and, as I remember it, the goggles make my reactions very much the same as drinking did back then.”

He said going through the experience helped him be more aware of just how much alcohol can impair reactions and coordination.

Charlotte Clark said after the experience wearing the goggles, she was horrified to believe individuals with physical and mental faculties so impaired by alcohol would try to drive after drinking.

“Wearing the goggles was quite an experience,” the Englewood resident said. “I guess I never realized the level of impairment drinking could have. When I wore the third-level goggles, I couldn’t even come close to catching the ball. No one should even think about driving if they are like I was in those goggles.”

Mother Nature dictated that the program schedule be changed. If it hadn’t rained, the volunteers would have gotten to don the goggles and pedal small carts through a weaving course of cones. Since that wasn’t possible, the course was moved inside.

This is the first time the Englewood Police Department has offered thes program to the public, and Tony Arnoldy, police community relations representative, said the program went very well despite not being able to use the carts.

“I feel the program still went very well. I received a lot of positive comments from the volunteers,” she said. “They told me it was eye-opening to experience the impairment changes that alcohol can cause.”

Arnoldy said she plans to offer the program to the public in the near future but said she hasn’t set dates as yet. She also said she would like to have high school students go through the program if she could schedule it.

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