Save a Life Tour shows servicemembers accidents are preventable
October 27, 2010
CASEY GARRISON - Pfc. Alex Michael was confident that he could beat the drunk-driving simulator.
And then it happened. His virtual automobile swerved off the road and crashed.
"When you get in the simulator it seems like a normal car, but then it just doesn't react like one," said the petroleum supply specialist from Company A, 70th Brigade Support Battalion. "I thought it was very realistic."
The National Save A Life Tour visited the Carey Physical Fitness Center Oct. 15,18 and 19 as part of a worldwide tour of military installations to let servicemembers experience first-hand how alcohol affects a driver's ability to safely operate an automobile.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone is injured every two minutes and killed every 31 minutes in an alcohol-related vehicle crash.
The SALT takes a shock and awe approach to drinking and driving using a tragic video, personal loss testimonies and a sobering simulation experience to get the message across it's not safe to drive while under the influence of alcohol. The tour has earned national acclaim from colleges, universities, high schools and military.
"This tour is the nation's most advanced high-impact alcohol awareness program," said Jeremiah Newson, S.A.L.T. manager of Kramer Entertainment.
"Our multi-million dollar drinking and driving simulators are the only simulators in the nation that give participants a completely realistic, sober perspective on the affects of driving while intoxicated."
Newson said the reaction time for someone drinking and driving is two seconds slower than it is for a sober driver.
"All of a sudden someone dies and (other people) say to themselves, 'Man, (he or she) should have listened,'" he said. "No one has to be killed or seriously injured if they listen. This is why we use these special techniques."
Soldiers were given an introduction about the drunken driving simulator before getting in the driver's seat and taking it for a test drive. They were also shown videos of alcohol-related crashes and the victims.
SALT organizers are confident their presentation creates enough of an impact to cause people to think twice before getting behind the wheel.
"I just want Soldiers to listen and take some of what they are learning with them," said Pfc. Kim Ho-heok, an assistant in the Alcohol and Drug Control Office at Casey Garrison. "So when they are out in the world they will be more confident and stand up to their friends on the issue of driving drunk."
"I thought the training was particularly useful for Soldiers," said 1st Sgt. James Stewart, Company F, 302nd Brigade Support Battalion. "I think this training would certainly help lower alcohol-related incidents especially if we got more involvement."
The Warrior Country Alcohol Substance Abuse Program agrees and continues to use the SALT program to educate servicemembers about the dangers of drinking and driving.