by Senior Airman Shannon Hall
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
3/27/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Airmen
from the 317th Airlift Group witnessed the effects of drunk driving
firsthand during their quarterly Comprehensive Airman Fitness event here
CAF events help Airmen, their families and Air Force civilians be more
resilient and assist them in dealing with stressors of military life.
The domains that are highlighted include mental, physical, social and
spiritual fitness. This quarter Team Dyess is concentrating on the
mental domain, which promotes good decision making and involves being
aware of how personal beliefs and values can affect behavior.
This particular event hosted by the 317th AG focused on making good decisions when it comes to drinking and driving.
The event began with Airmen selected from each of the 317th Airlift
Group squadrons consuming a limited number of alcoholic beverages in a
controlled environment. The Airmen were then timed on how accurately
they could drive a gator through a closed course without knocking over
traffic cones and barriers.
The 7th Bomb Wing Safety office assisted with the demonstration, by
controlling and monitoring the course, and by providing a member of the
safety office to remain in the gator with drivers at all times. The 7th
Security Forces Squadron, 7th Medical Group and several members from
Dyess Against Drunk Driving were also present to ensure everyone's
safety during the educational event.
"The event was aimed at demonstrating the effects of four to five
drinks, and that although a person may not outwardly appear to be
intoxicated, they still have the potential of being impaired," said Maj.
Donald Sellars, 317th AG chief executive officer.
"Every one of the impaired drivers experienced reduced driving skills
that resulted in numerous cones and barriers being knocked over,"
Sellars said. "Some members did better than others, but the important
thing to remember is that a few drinks does not affect all people
equally, nor does it affect the same person the same way in all
Other Airmen put on impairment goggles, also known as drunk goggles, and
drove the course to experience the effects of drunk driving, as the
goggles simulate intoxication by limiting the senses when worn.
"What I learned today was that drinking something with a low alcohol
content, like cider, can impair my driving skills drastically," said
Airman 1st Class Teara Sapp, 40th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and driver
participant. "I've lost a friend to drunk driving, so getting to
witness this firsthand really demonstrated to me the effects that
alcohol can have on your driving ability, without the person being aware
that they possibly could be intoxicated."
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 28 people die a day due to
drunk driving; that's more than 10,000 people a year. By conducting this
event, Airmen were able to get more of a hands-on learning experience,
as opposed to listening to briefings.
"I think events like these are more useful than regular briefings
because it brings the situations into a more real-world setting," Sapp
said. "It's not sitting in a room listening to briefings and watching
slideshows. It's actually showing you, in real time, the effects that
alcohol can have on you and how much it can impair your driving
abilities. It made me realize that even if someone seems sober or they
haven't had that much to drink it may be enough to put them over the