CREATING NEW PERSPECTIVES TO PROMOTE HEALTHY CHOICES

Fatal Vision Goggles® help drive home safety education at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas

By Georgia Beaverson

 

Officer Darin Franklin of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Police Services takes his job to protect students seriously.

“My main priority is to keep the campuses and the surrounding areas … safe,” he explains.

In that capacity, he heads the Joining Forces function of his agency as well as serving as instructor for both Standard Field Sobriety Tests and Emergency Vehicle Operations Courses. It’s only natural that he’s concerned with alcohol safety on campus too.

“The alcohol safety program … get(s) my message across to the enrolled students about the dangers of drinking and driving,” Franklin says.

The students he works to reach with his alcohol safety message are most often traditional college students aged 17 to 24, away from home for the first time, and confronting challenges and attractions that come with campus life.

“College life has many temptations to party,” Franklin continues. “The younger students are vulnerable to this and wanting to be popular. I want to get my point across to think twice about consuming alcohol or controlled substance(s) … and getting into a car and driving.”

He explains that the addition of Fatal Vision GogglesÒ to his education efforts has improved student participation in them. Previously, the presentations were like lectures: detailed and in-depth, but they lacked a way to involve students. Incorporating the Goggles has pushed his presentations far beyond simple Power Point lectures.

 

Franklin was introduced to the Goggles about a year ago at an impaired driving and traffic safety conference in Anaheim, Calif. He connected with a representative at the Fatal Vision expo booth, asking specifically about the Goggles. That led to UNLV Police Services acquiring some Goggles specifically to help with Franklin’s presentations—and not only to college students.

“They were a huge educational addition to the classes,” he says. “This gave me a great opportunity to teach future police officers how to detect DUIs by the driver’s actions (by) administering the SFSTs to a person with the Goggles on.”

By adding a more realistic, hands-on portion to his presentations, Franklin says the in-depth information from the Power Point presentation is driven home by the experience of the Goggles. Students remember more of the presentation longer when the Goggles reinforce the message.

“I want the students to think about the repercussions of drinking and driving after what they experienced when using the Goggles,” Franklin says.

 

Thus far, Franklin has used the Goggles with over one hundred students and police cadets. The reaction to them has been very positive. In addition to driving home the vital information through an experience, the Goggles add an element of fun to the presentations.

“There is nothing ‘fun’ about going to a crash caused by a drunk driver,” he explains. “But keeping the students involved and interested in my message keeps them learning.”

He also combines the Goggles with guest speakers. Tiffani May, the Community Engagement and Diversity Outreach Coordinator for the Nevada Department of Public Safety, attended one of Franklin’s most recent presentations. She had firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to be a victim of a DUI crash. The one she was affected by had occurred two years previous. An intoxicated driver drove through an intersection at 100 mph and struck several vehicles in the process. Tiffani was one of nine people injured in the crash. Seven people died. May spoke to Franklin’s students about her experience, explaining she will have to have many surgeries to function properly the rest of her life.

“Her message really hit home and incorporating the FV Goggles after her talk really hit the mark with my drinking-and-driving messages,” Franklin says. “Tiffani explained to the students that the driver who caused the crash was double the BAC level that the Goggles (used in the presentation) showed. This really clicked with the students and made them think more about the end results of being intoxicated.”

 

Franklin is eager to continue to spread the word about drinking and driving and plans to incorporate the Fatal Vision Goggles with an expanded audience. May introduced him to the Regional Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The director is eager to join forces and add the Goggles to MADD’s presentations.

“Tiffani reached out to me after the class to tell me this was the best alcohol safety presentation she had been involved with,” Franklin says. “And the addition of the Fatal Vision Goggles were a big part of that!”