Charles Hodges has made a career out of serving the people of Midland and West Texas. The organization he heads up, Stop DWI, Inc., offers educational programs to help stop impaired driving. Hodges counts on the impact of Innocorp products to make a long-lasting impression on the young people he serves.
Participants at the Ector County (Odessa) Employee Picnic able to experience Innocorp’s hands-on products.
The Stop DWI started life in Texas in 1985 as part of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization. Changes in MADD policies led to the 1995 formation of Stop DWI, which serves the Permian Basin and West Texas today.
Hodges began using the Fatal Vision® Impairment Goggles in 2004. Over the years, he’s added to Stop DWI’s cache of Innocorp tools. Today he’s able to work the Fatal Vision® Marijuana Simulation Experience Goggles, SIDNE®, Sum-It-Cup®, intoxiclock®, and posters into his programs. Since the organization is nonprofit and offers its programs gratis, Hodges has carefully planned his purchases. Some tools, like intoxiclock®, he’s acquired piece by piece.
“I have practically everything Innocorp has put out,” Hodges explains.
Why has he made it a point to expand his Innocorp toolbox? “It’s excellent equipment,” he says. “There’s technology and expertise behind them. I know they have consulted with experts.”
But more than that, Hodges adds, the response to the Innocorp tools is always positive. For example, Stop DWI participates in the Odessa County Health Fair every year. And every year Hodges sets up his booth with every Innocorp product Stop DWI has. Why? Because the products are a magnet for fair-goers. And once their attention is captured, the education begins.
“It creates a lot of excitement,” Hodges says. “People have no idea what’s going on with distracted driving. The texting tools are phenomenal.”
That point was driven home forcefully when Stop DWI recently walked Midland City Council through the Innocorp texting poster. One member was astonished that it wasn’t a good idea to text while driving.
Because of the poster, “I could prove he was wrong,” Hodges says.
Changing Local Ordinances
Convincing government officials to enact a state ban on using hand-held devices while driving was a goal for Hodges, who worked hard to get it in front of the Texas Legislature. Unfortunately, the governor and legislature didn’t see the need to pass such a law.
“But our local representative from Midland County does,” Hodges says.
So instead of being discouraged, Hodges set his sites locally. He made a new plan to approach cities and ask them to create city ordinances.
“I want all cities in the area to have it [such an ordinance], so I’m showing up,” Hodges says. In fact, in August he attended the final reading of the Midland ordinance, which the city council then passed. The new ordinance, which bans using hand-held devices while driving in Midland, goes into effect October 1.
He plans to use SIDNE® to drive this point home in other area cities by asking participants at public forums to drive SIDNE® while on a cell phone, something he’s done before.
“You don’t do well at all,” he says with a laugh.
SIDNE® has been an attention-grabber for him at area high schools, too. He can work with 20 students per hour using SIDNE®, he says. In a typical day at a high school using Innocorp tools, Hodges interacts with about 500 students.
This interaction has a lasting impact on those schools. One of the local Midland high schools owns its own set of Fatal Vision® Goggles to use with students. In fact, the school calls its safety program Fatal Vision®.
But Hodges doesn’t only reach high school students. Stop DWI also runs a Victim Impact Panel program that meets monthly in Odessa. Each class involves about 30 court-ordered participants who have a DUI or other traffic offense. They pay $60 to attend the classes. Here Hodges uses Innocorp’s drink chart to educate participants about alcohol use.
“intoxiclock® is great for this,” Hodges says, adding that he’s seen offenders cry during class when hit by the truth. “We don’t have many repeat offenders, in part because of what we do.”
There are many ways to measure success—most of them don’t involve numbers. But to a degree, Hodges says, he does measure Stop DWI’s success by the increasing number of requests he gets for presentations.
His fall calendar is currently filling up rapidly. He gets requests from southeast Texas, south Texas, and even as far away as the Mexican border. He has requests for three health fairs at hospitals, from all area high schools, and other community organizations. He works with the local organization for all trauma professionals in the area. This kind of impact definitely spells success for Hodges.
“That’s a measure of success,” he says. “We’ve reached someone who told someone else. That’s success.”