Fatal Vision Goggles
What are Fatal Vision Goggles?
Fatal Vision Goggles (FVG) are goggles that are worn to distort one’s vision to mimic the effects of alcohol. Such distortion can impact a student’s equilibrium and thus allow them to feel the impairing effects of alcohol (Jewell et al., 2004).
When used on a college campus, FVG are typically used during alcohol prevention activities, such as Alcohol Awareness Week. While wearing the goggles, students are asked to complete tasks such as field sobriety tests or driving simulations. Typically, in a large group setting, a group of students will observe a peer wearing the goggles and attempting to perform requested tasks.
Although the research on FVG is limited, a few studies have demonstrated FVG to have a short-term impact on student attitudes and intentions to drink and drive. One study found the goggles to have an immediate impact on reducing favorable attitudes towards drinking and driving for both students who wore the goggles and students who observed a peer wearing the goggles, though outcomes were more pronounced for students who wore the goggles (Jewell, Hupp, & Luttrell, 2004). Another study found the goggles to reduce students’ intentions to drink and drive (Hennessy, Lanni-Manley & Maiorana, 2006).
Although FVG may have short-term effects on a student’s stated attitudes or intentions to drink and drive, research has not demonstrated any sustained impact for these measures. More importantly, research has not demonstrated the goggles to influence student drunk driving behaviors. For example, one study looked at the impact of the goggles four weeks after students used them. This study demonstrated that an immediate change in attitudes towards drunk driving for students who wore the goggles, relative to comparison groups, was not maintained at a four-week follow-up, nor were any changes in drunk driving behaviors found at this time (Jewell & Hupp, 2005).
Issues and considerations
Because the research has not demonstrated FVG to have an impact on drunk driving-related behaviors, campuses ought to carefully consider whether it is worth their resources to invest in this strategy. The nature of FVG may be limiting in the sense that only one student can wear the goggles at a time. And although a group of students may benefit slightly from observing a peer wearing the goggles, FVG have been demonstrated to have the most impact on those students who are able to wear the goggles themselves (Jewell, Hupp, & Luttrell, 2004). As such, a campus may consider other approaches for reducing drunk driving, such as a safe rides program, a social marketing or social norms marketing campaign, or increased enforcement efforts like DUI checkpoints, which may impact a greater proportion of students.
Hennessy, D. A., Lanni-Manley, E., & Maiorana, N. (2006). The effects of fatal vision goggles on drinking and driving intentions in college students. Journal of Drug Education, 36(1), 59–72.
Jewell, J., & Hupp, S. (2005). Examining the Effects of Fatal Vision Goggles on Changing Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Drinking and Driving. Journal of Primary Prevention, 26(6), 553-565.
Jewell, J., Hupp, S., & Luttrell, G. (2004). The Effectiveness of Fatal Vision Goggles: Disentangling Experiential Versus Onlooker Effects. American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation, 48(3), 63-84.