Dickinson Police Department has purchased new equipment to help educate drivers about the dangers of being impaired driving, and help combat speeding across the city.
The new technology was made possible through a grant provided by the American Automobile Association, totaling $11,965.
The funds have been used to buy Fatal Vision impairment simulation goggles and a new OnSite Matrix Speed Trailer, DPD Capt. Joe Cianni explained.
The goggles can go over glasses simulate a blood alcohol concentration of .17 to .20, or "really intoxicated," Cianni said.
DPD has several pairs capable of recreating a range of intoxication.
"We can use these doing sobriety tests with those we're teaching, walking a straight line, and they'll know how it's going to feel at different levels of intoxication," he said.
They also have goggles that can become completely dark for three seconds to simulate being distracted while driving, whether texting or talking. It will be used in conjunction with a Simulated Impaired Driving Experience go-kart.
"If you're wearing those and driving the go-kart they would hit the three seconds, and you can go longer, and it'll just block out the glasses," Cianni said.
DPD plans to use the new goggles for educational purposes starting this summer, including student driving instruction.
Such tools do help to educate young drivers, between 14 to 18, about the dangers of impaired driving, Cianni said.
"The texting thing is new to us. We didn't have those goggles before," he said. "That's going to be an interesting concept, to actually show them a blackout."
A new solar-powered, radar speed trailer will replace a model that was constructed locally and had served the department for roughly 25 years.
The mobile, compact speed radar with a dot matrix sign can display messages and will show the speed of oncoming traffic.
"The original trailer was probably twice this size and at least 25 years old," he said. "What we did was take a standard squad car radar unit out and mounted it in there and built a solar charging system in there."
That dated radar system, though, would recognize both oncoming and departing traffic and burn its batteries more quickly. The new matrix sign will detect only oncoming traffic.
Speeding is a major concern in many neighborhoods across Dickinson, Cianni said.
"We try to pinpoint the area we can do the most good with," he said. "We have portable signs we can place in different areas and rotate them."
The new equipment will help the DPD in its efforts to keep the community safe, Cianni said.
"It keeps us modern and ahead of the game," he said. "We have to keep up with technology. We don't want to fall behind. We always try to use the best research we have for the public safety and traffic safety out there."
A grant from AAA the previous year provided for pedestrian safety signs for crosswalks.