The Lowndes students experience Fatal Vision

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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The Calhoun School and Central High School in Hayneville freshmen and sophomores tasted a sample of the effects and consequences of driving while impaired on March 14 during the Lowndes County Juvenile Court’s Fatal Vision Day.

During the event, court officials partnered with state and local law enforcement and first responders to give the ninth and tenth graders a sample of what driving impaired feels like using virtual reality googles and showing them a simulated car crash and rescue attempt.

Lowndes County Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Keisha Lee coordinated the event with the purpose of helping students understand the importance of their actions and how thinking about safe driving and deciding to avoid driving while impaired can prevent fatal traffic accidents.

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“For the first part of the program, we had various speakers from agencies who came in and discussed driving while impaired or driving while distracted and the consequences,” Lee said. “Judge Adrian Johnson went over the cost and the court procedures a juvenile would have to go through if they drive while impaired or distracted. We also had a demonstration from Julie Farmer with Children’s of Alabama. She talked to them about what happens in the trauma room when a child is airlifted to Birmingham [after a crash.]”

The Calhoun School Principal Nicholas Townsend said the program helped students see firsthand what can happen when they drive while impaired or distracted.

“A program like this gives students almost a first hand account of what the title describes — fatal vision,” Townsend said. “They saw how one bad decision could be fatal for their lives as far as being intoxicated and getting behind the wheel of a car.”

Townsend said students also learned about driving regulations that many had never heard before.

“[They learned about] rules like first time drivers [with a learner’s permit] only being able to have one occupant in the car who is not a family member,” Townsend said. “A lot of kids didn’t know that. They also didn’t know how many service providers respond to different traffic accidents.”

Brent Cosby with Beacon Behavioral Hospital in Luverne explained regular household items some kids use to become intoxicated, Lee said.

“He talked about the different drug reactions substances create,” Lee said. “He shared a list of items kids are using to get high. It was surprising to me that some things, like Cool Whip, were on the list.”

Lee said students heard from a Drug Court graduate, who gave his personal testimony of drug use and recovery to help the youths understand how drugs affect a person’s life and their family too.