Here is a great and fun way to learn about a very important issue. Laramie County Safe Communities has been invited to staff an interactive safety-related information booth at Big Country Speedway in Cheyenne July 7, 5 -8 p.m.

Booth visitors will be asked trivia questions about impaired driving and seat belt use in Laramie County and will also be given the opportunity to try different activities while wearing Fatal Impairment vision goggles.

“The goggles demonstrate how alcoholic beverages can affect a person trying to complete simple tasks,” said Stephanie Heitsch, Safe Communities coordinator. “People too often do not realize how impaired they are until it is too late to function properly, and that is when they put themselves and others at risk.”

Alcohol was involved in about one-third of the 143 serious or fatal crashes that occurred in Laramie County from 2008-2010, according to recent studies. Ten percent of the impaired drivers were under the age of 21.

Of those arrested in Laramie County for a DUI in 2010, the average blood alcohol content was 0.178, over twice the legal limit of 0.08.

“These are staggering statistics,” said Heitsch. “Our goal is to help educate our community so that people not only understand how deadly drinking and driving is, but that change begins to occur.”

Booth staffers will also share how seat belts save lives. In 2010, 67 percent of car crash fatalities in Laramie County involved either improper seat belt use or no seat belt use at all.

Properly wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of being killed or injured by 45-50 percent when driving a passenger car and 60 percent when operating a pickup truck, sport utility vehicle or minivan, said Heitsch.

“Buckling up is quick, easy and life-saving, and it’s also required by law,” she said.

Safe Communities is a sponsor of Wyoming State Trooper John O’Connor, who will be competing at the speedway July 7. O’Connor is an outspoken proponent of seat belt use and not drinking and driving. Other agencies sponsoring O’Connor are the Wyoming Seatbelt Coalition and the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Booth sponsors include the Wyoming Seatbelt Coalition and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association 4th of July Impaired Driving Campaign and National Impaired Driving Enforcement Crackdown.