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Posted on: August 2, 2022

Municipal Court earns state award for impaired driving prevention

A woman places her hand on the shoulder of a girl wearing dark goggles.

PHOTO #1: Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold, right, assists with a field sobriety demonstration at Nazareth Academy in 2021. Students attempted to perform different tasks while wearing impairment goggles to learn about the dangers of impaired driving. Photo provided by Nazareth Academy.

PHOTO #2: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provided a DWI simulator for a traffic safety event hosted by the City of Victoria Municipal Court at the Children’s Discovery Museum in 2021.

The City of Victoria Municipal Court has received the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center’s Municipal Traffic Safety Initiatives Award for the second year in a row for its efforts to combat impaired driving through education and public outreach.

A chair in front of a monitor with a driving game set up.The court received the award for hosting mock trials that teach students about the dangers of impaired driving and for providing educational resources and hands-on activities at public events.

Last year, the court partnered with Nazareth Academy and Trinity Episcopal School to host mock trials for the schools’ eighth-grade classes. The trials centered on the fictional case of a juvenile accused of driving with alcohol in his system.

In preparation for the mock trials, Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold and Victoria Police Department officers visited the classes to teach students about field sobriety tests and conduct activities using impairment goggles.

Vaness_Heinhold“Students in that age group are about to start taking driving classes and getting their learners permits, so it’s a perfect time to teach them about impaired driving,” Heinold said.

The court hosted an educational event at the Children’s Discovery Museum last summer in partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Older children were able to try out an impaired driving simulator, while younger children learned to identify unsafe behaviors. 

The court also offered hands-on activities at the Victoria Police Department’s National Night Out, inviting attendees to attempt different tasks while wearing impairment goggles.

Residents who are interested in partnering with the court to host a traffic safety event should contact the court at 361-485-3050 or courtclerk@victoriatx.gov, or fill out the form at www.victoriatx.gov/courtoutreach.

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