Soldiers and staff members at William Beaumont Army Medical Center participated in safety activities in recognition of National Safety Month at WBAMC, June 22.
Events focused on performing different activities under the influence by utilizing alcohol impairment simulation goggles which simulated impaired vision as a result of consuming alcoholic beverages.
"In celebration of the National Safety Council, four weeks in the month of June are designated as Safety Month," said Henry Ford, safety manager, WBAMC. "Week four focuses on driving, DUIs, DWIs, so activities focused on impaired driving using impaired driving goggles, simulating the strength of drinks you've had, from 0.2 to over the limit."
Activities allowed patrons to drive petal cars, walk the line, navigate through obstacles, dribble basketballs, and toss a beanbag, all while donning impaired vision goggles.
"Some (staff) did well and some bad," said Ford. "When you have two people going side by side, it poses additional risks (such as driving while intoxicated does on public streets)."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes, equal to one person every 50 minutes.
In addition to the safety activities available, representatives and resources from the Army Substance Abuse Program helped educate individuals on alcohol-related information while WBAMC's Department of Preventive Medicine discussed health risks involved with consumption of alcohol.
"We're here to increase awareness of the vulnerabilities of drinking and driving and bring to (participants') attention, the lack of coordination with their assumed abilities of being able to drive with one to X amount of beers," said Ford.
The event also made by-standers mindful of the effects of alcohol, as they watched participants poorly navigate through the courses and crash into one another on the petal cars.
"Inebriation and intoxication affects (participants') reaction time as well as their depth perception," noted Staff Sgt. John Evans, noncommissioned officer in charge, Department of Behavioral Health, WBAMC. "People are walking around phantom cones that aren't even there. Watching someone else brings awareness."
The events approached a monotonous subject differently, allowing Soldiers and staff members to engage with one another and apply safety measures before mishaps occur.
"It prevents boredom with the topic," said Evans. "It's outside the box, fun and hopefully Soldiers learn something."