News: ASAP brings SALT to Fort Hood
FOOD HOOD, Texas - Fort Hood’s Army Substance Abuse Program hosted the Save a Life Tour at the Great Place Monday-Wednesday, featuring several presentations for Soldiers on the dangers of distracted driving.
“Fort Hood is the biggest military installation; there are so many Soldiers here, and raising awareness at Fort Hood of the dangers of drinking and driving or distracted driving and those consequences is extremely important,” said Andrew Tipton, the Save a Life Tour manager. “We have to get the word out to them, for themselves, for their families, their friends, just to be safe on the road.”
Nearly 200 Soldiers filled Howze Auditorium Monday morning. The presentation started with a 25-minute compilation of horrific car and motorcycle accidents, police officers catching and punishing drinking and driving offenders, and the story of a girl who had everything going for her but was hit by a 17-year-old drunk driver and how her life changed forever.
After the video, Tipton talked to the audience bluntly about the dangers of drinking and driving, distracted driving and the increasingly dangerous texting and driving consequences before letting them try their turn at the texting-and-driving or drinking-and-driving simulators.
“It really is difficult to multi-task and drive with text messages coming in every 15 seconds,” said Spc. Oscar Valadez, who tried out the texting-and-driving simulator. “It’s an important lesson, what (SALT) is trying to get out to people. It’s a life lesson. It forces you to think about more than yourself. If you get into a car accident, it doesn’t only affect you, it affects your whole family, the people you love, and the other person’s family. It’s not worth it.
“One little decision to answer a text or drive home after drinking could change your whole life,” he added. “(SALT) does make a difference in how we think.”
Valadez’s affirmation of SALT changing the way drivers think about their choices is what Tipton said he is trying to do everywhere he goes.
“We just need people to think. Just think about what you’re doing. It’s too dangerous to risk. Even if you don’t get into an accident, getting a DUI changes your entire life, too.
“Everybody knows that if you drink and drive and you hit somebody and kill somebody you will go to jail. Everybody knows that it affects more than just you,” he added. “There’s nothing I can tell you or show you in this video that you don’t already know. But it has to be reinforced. Over and over, it has to be reinforced.”
Every 32 minutes a person in the United States is killed by drinking and driving, and in recent years, the number of texting and driving fatalities is surpassing the number of drinking and driving fatalities.
“This is a great program,” Pfc. Andrew Dejesus said of SALT. “You don’t think about how dangerous it is until it’s really brought to your attention. We know the dangers are there, but when you actually go through the simulator or see the video, it hits home.”