How a veteran police officer has made an impact with Fatal Vision® Alcohol Impairment Goggles.
In 1996 Innocorp, Ltd. launched its first product: the Fatal Vision® Alcohol Impairment Goggle. Innocorp created this new tool to simulate an estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) impairment of .17 to .20+ and help traffic safety professionals deliver an engaging lesson about impaired driving.
That’s also the year police officer John Minichiello began using the Fatal Vision goggles with teenagers. Twenty-five-plus years later, at the age of 77, he’s still using Fatal Vision products and working with teens.
“It was a new, innovative product,” recalled Minichiello. He’d heard about the Fatal Vision Goggle through his work as a Massachusetts deputy sheriff. “It sounded pretty interesting.”
Part of why it sounded so attractive to him was because of his experiences with drunk drivers as a police officer. The idea of using the alcohol impairment goggles also snagged his interest because a third-time drunk driver had just killed his 18-year-old nephew.
“My nephew was only 18 and had just been accepted to Boston College,” Minichiello explained. “He was hit from behind while walking home from work.”
Alcohol had also claimed the life of his first wife, who had substance abuse problems. These experiences led Minichiello to take a course on addiction to understand substance abuse better. He made a speech as part of that course in which he shared his experiences. His instructor was so impressed he recommended that Minichiello go out and continue to speak on the subject. It led him to quit his job as an officer and form the organization Teen Savers of America.
“I went all over the country for about four years,” speaking to groups of teens about substance abuse using the Fatal Vision® Alcohol Impairment Goggle.
Right off the bat, Minichiello was impressed with how well the alcohol impairment goggles worked with teenagers. The teens he spoke to were amazed by the goggles. Despite wearing them, many participants thought they’d pass the sobriety test but were soon disabused of that notion.
“I asked the kids if they’d give the goggles to a driver to wear,” Minichiello said. Of course, the answer was a resounding no! “So, I told them they would be doing the same thing if they drove with an intoxicated driver.”
His unique presentation — a combination of firsthand experiences and the Fatal Vision alcohol impairment goggle demonstrations — had a significant impact. He reported that people all over the country were receptive to his message, and the goggles drove that message home.
Students across the country responded enthusiastically with comments like these:
- “The presentation…was very impressive. He knew what he was talking about.”
- “…Presentation was one of a kind!”
- “You (John) made drinking and driving mistakes seem realistic to everyone. You truly made a difference in people’s minds and the decisions they make.”
- “John Minichiello had changed many people’s attitudes towards drinking and drugs. I bet he has saved many lives.”
After four years of nonstop travel, Minichiello returned to life as a police officer, but he never stopped working with teens. He tells teenagers today that they must look inside themselves to find happiness in life, not outside. Minichiello confronts them by asking what their purpose in life is and helps them think over their life choices as teens. He takes life choices seriously. And Fatal Vision® Alcohol Impairment Goggle drives home that gravity.
“Fatal Vision brings it out,” Minichiello explained. “It drives home the point of choice to drive impaired or not.”
He sometimes uses driving simulator carts in tandem with Fatal Vision® Alcohol Impairment Goggle to illustrate the reality of the situation. He loves how the Tunnel Vision Lens (TVL) Combo accessory shows how tunnel vision further impairs driving alertness and ability. “They can’t see cars coming from the side.”
Minichiello has been impressed with how Fatal Vision products have expanded and adapted over the years. “They have evolved over the years,” he said. “When I started, there was just one pair of goggles. Now they have an array of goggles that show how alcohol impairment affects people at five different BAC levels.”
Underlying every word he speaks to teens is the idea of taking responsibility for their lives through choices. He uses humor and kindness to drive home his points and keep his audience engaged.
The Fatal Vision® Opioid Goggle is another Innocorp product that Minichiello finds himself using a lot these days. “Now Fentanyl and other drugs are killing about 300 people daily,” he said. “Many of those are teens.”
Today Minichiello works part-time as a New Hampshire police officer even though he’s 77. He’s taking the summer off this year, but he hasn’t backed off speaking to teens. He’s hoping to garner some media attention this fall to promote his presentation using Fatal Vision products in schools. Why does Minichiello continue?
“Everything I’ve done makes me feel good,” he stated. “I’m investing in changed lives.”
And he’s doing it with Fatal Vision®.