Fort Sill_Fort Sill officials want to ensure none of their soldiers drive while under the influence, and while the officials aren't anti-alcohol, they want soldiers to think about how they are getting home before taking a drink. They are hosting the "Save a Life" tour, a program that talks about the dangers of driving while drunk, plus immerses soldiers in what could be a deadly experience.
On Thursday, soldiers watched videos of victims at real crash scenes, then they attempted to drive a high-tech simulator to show how tough it is to control a car when not sober. The simulation program is built by the same company that makes aircraft and combat simulations for the department of defense. Brian Beldyga's fiancée was killed by a drunk driver, and he confessed that he used to drive drunk - until the wreck changed his life.
Beldyga began the program to try and keep others from drinking and driving. "It's never gonna go away," he said. "As long as I put my two cents in, hopefully I'll affect someone, hopefully I'll show someone one thing: that that night at the club, they're just kind of say, 'Uh uh, not tonight, you're giving me your keys.'"
Soldiers grinned as they started to drive the simulator, but grins turned to sober expressions of concentration as they had to try and stay on the road while avoiding hitting other cars or pedestrians. "It was pretty hard to drive. After a while, the car just stopped responding, and like you said, I almost hit somebody, unfortunately," said PFC David King.
King failed the test - but, he wasn't the only one. One-by-one, each soldier crashed. "I was sitting there driving, and everything was going good," said PV2 Michael Brasch. "All of a sudden, he threw in the heavy, heavy alcohol on me, and I went, 'Oh gosh!' Everything was going slow, and I got in a car crash and failed miserably - got a DUI in class."Beldyga gave the soldiers DUI certificates as reminders of what went wrong. He says that he and his team aren't the people saving lives - they count on those they educate to be responsible and to be the life-savers. An official from Fort Sill's Substance Abuse Program says that most of the units on post have phone numbers for soldiers to call if they are at bars and need a ride home.
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