By llaria Dalla Riva, USAG Italy ASAP VolunteerNovember 27, 2017
VICENZA -- The holiday season is at the doorstep and, as we gather and celebrate with families and friends, National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month reminds us of the importance of celebrating safely.
Although the holidays are time for celebration, this time of year represents one of the most dangerous times on roadways because of an increase in impaired driving.
Since 1982, when President Ronald Reagan signed the first proclamation designating a week in December as 3D Awareness Week, every U.S. President has committed to preventing impaired driving. In 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and urged all Americans "to make responsible decisions and take appropriate measures to prevent impaired driving," especially around the holidays.
The program has witnessed increased resolve among communities to expand existing programs and launch new initiatives encouraging safe and sober driving.
The Army Substance Abuse Program invites the Vicenza community to join the war on drunk and drugged driving by participating in an experience called "Get a sobering view of what impairment can do." With the support of SIDNE, a battery-powered vehicle that simulates the effects of impairment on a motorist's driving skills, anyone is able to identify firsthand what the potentially deadly consequences of alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs have on their driving ability. The SIDNE vehicle works in two modalities, normal and impaired. In normal mode the vehicle's steering, braking and acceleration respond appropriately; in impaired mode it reacts with delayed commands, simulating the effects of a vehicle being driven by an impaired driver.
"We decided to come up with ideas that could involve the whole community -- families, civilians and Soldiers. We want to keep things fun and lighthearted but at the same time, deliver a strong, vital message," said Scott Zaehler, ASAP prevention coordinator.
ASAP invites community members to join the 3D month celebration and try the effects of impaired driving with a sober brain; the event will take place Dec. 14 in the library parking lot on Caserma Ederle, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.