What Does it Mean to be Evidence-based?

Question: What Does it Mean to be Evidence-based?

Evidence-based practices are approaches that have been rigorously evaluated in experimental evaluations – like randomized controlled trials – and shown to make a positive, statistically significant difference in essential outcomes.

A program that has stood the test of rigorous experimental evaluations:

  • has shown that it is supported by data, not just based on a theory
  • has been repeatedly tested and is more effective than standard care or alternative practice, &
  • can be reproduced in other settings.



Fact: Fatal Vision is evidence-based. There have been at least 4 studies and 1 White paper looking at the effects of Fatal Vision:

  1. Using alcohol intoxication goggles (Fatal Vision® goggles) to detect alcohol-related impairment in simulated driving Danielle McCartney, Ben Desbrow & Christopher Irwin Pages 19-27 | Received 15 Dec 2015, Accepted 11 May 2016, Accepted author version posted online: 03 Jun 2016, Published online: 20 Sep 2016
  2. The Effectiveness of Fatal Vision Goggles: Disentangling Experiential Versus Onlooker Effects Jeremy Jewell, Stephen Hupp, and Greg Luttrell Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2004
  3. Examining the Effects of Fatal Vision Goggles on Changing Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Drinking and Driving November 2005, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 553–565
  4. The Effects of Fatal Vision Goggles on Drinking and Driving Intentions in College Students. Dwight A. HennessyElizabeth Lanni-ManleyNicole Maiorana Published March 1, 2006, Research Article
  5. Evidence-Based Behavioral Models and Fatal Vision Goggles Robert P. Hawkins, Ph.D. Research Professor & Maier-Bascom Professor Emeritus School of Journalism & Mass Communication University of Wisconsin – Madison With edits by Emily Vraga, Ph.D.c. Evidenced-Based White Paper


Caution: Evidence-based practices (EBP) are not infallible

As great as EBP may sound, in many circumstances, the technique isn’t infallible. As with any scientific research, EBPs are susceptible to human error. Evidence isn’t always perfect, and researchers may not observe experiments as they should be. Sometimes research is incomplete or contradictory. Also, there can’t be a cookie-cutter approach to delivering a Fatal Vision Presentation; research doesn’t show that one type of presentation works completely while another doesn’t work at all. Instead, there are levels of proven research, dividing evidence into weaker and stronger categories of effectiveness. Pros & Cons of Evidence-Based Practice, Lindsay Pietroluongo, Updated December 28, 2018 Source:


Outcomes: Behavior Change?

It is problematic to expect that a one-time delivery of a program results in behavior change. Changing a person’s behavior is difficult. Typical Fatal Vision demonstrations are done in group settings for brief periods. It would be unreasonable to expect behavior change after one Fatal Vision demonstration. Another important outcome of using Fatal Vision tools is the interest generated in the topic of impairment. Fatal Vision gets participants’ attention and can foster a discussion that may eventually lead to positive behavior change. The first step in persuasive communication is to get a person’s attention, which Fatal Vision does very well. In summary, Fatal Vision is an experiential persuasive communication tool used to provide health and safety advocates a means for fostering a conversation about a safety issue and hopefully persuade participants to consider safer alternative behaviors.


Science-based, Research-based, Evidence-based: What’s the difference?

  • Science-based – Parts or components of the program or method are based on Science.
  • Research-based – Parts or components of the program or method are based on practices demonstrated effective through Research.
  • Evidence-based – The entire program or method has been demonstrated by independent research to be effective.



Another application of Fatal Vision: Stages of Change Theory

Stages of Change theory (transtheoretical Model) may inform an approach for the application of Fatal Vision products in that individuals may be at different phases in accepting arguments about the deleterious effects of various types of impairments. Those stages are:

Pre-contemplation, (This is not an issue I think or care about)

  1. Contemplation, (I’m willing to consider your argument)
  2. Preparation (Determination) (What can I do to change?)    
  3. Action (I’m taking steps to change)
  4. Maintenance (I’m maintaining my desired behavior)
  5. Termination (My behavior is part of who I am and what I do)



The application of Fatal Vision is to facilitate the transition of individuals from an early stage to later stages. For example, someone who may be in the pre-contemplation stage regarding the use of opioids is willing to consider the dangers associated with opioid use after experiencing the Fatal Vision Opioid goggle and activities.




Michael Aguilar