When Master Deputy Eric Fisher of the Ford County Sheriff's Office started a child safety seat program in 2009 his goal was to educate people and be in the public eye as a law enforcement official. But in the five years since the program began, it has snowballed into something much bigger.

When Master Deputy Eric Fisher of the Ford County Sheriff's Office started a child safety seat program in 2009 his goal was to educate people and be in the public eye as a law enforcement official. But in the five years since the program began, it has snowballed into something much bigger.

Fisher is now in charge Ford County's FACT Program which stands for fatal vision, child safety, and texting while driving. He partners with Officer Justin Warkentin of the Dodge City Police Department and Trooper Mike Racy of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Together the team travels to schools, health fairs and exhibitions to demonstrate the dangers of driving drunk and texting while driving. They also show parents how to properly install car seats.

The crew's most recent appearance was at the AMBUCS Home and Leisure Show and KBUF RV Show in Dodge City.

"We inspect the seats for cracks and problems and then show the parents how to install them correctly," Fisher said. "Then we have them install it so they for sure know how to put the seat in."

According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education, common mistakes parents often make when it comes to car seat safety include getting a used car seat without researching it's history, placing the car seat in the wrong spot and reclining a child at the incorrect angle. The Kansas Safety Resource Officer reports that three out of every four car seats are improperly installed.

Fisher, Warkentin and Racy are trained to help parents avoid all of these potentially fatal mistakes.

In addition to educating parents, the team works to teach teens the dangers of drinking and driving as well as texting and driving. In 2010, the FACT program started using Fatal Vision goggles, a training tool used to demonstrate the concept of impairment and the dangers of impaired driving. According to Fisher, a person wearing the goggles experiences blurriness and double vision consistent with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .22, nearly three times the legal limit.

"Our goal is to show them the dangers they will encounter. We basically say 'this is what will happen,'" Fisher said. "We never harp on them. We even tell kids to call us for a ride if they've been drinking."

"We'd rather take them home than have to knock on the door and tell their mom and dad we had to scrape them off the road," he added.

Fisher has the students put on the goggles and navigate a course of cones. They also undergo several tests given to people suspected of DUI.

"The kids laugh and have a good time. Sometimes the goggles make them throw up, but in the long run they get something out of it," Fisher said.

Another tool Fisher, Warkentin and Racy use to further their cause is called a General Electric Motorcar or GEM Car. The golf cart sized vehicle operates as if being driven by an impaired person, even when the person behind the wheel is sober. Students are asked to try to text, change the radio, etc. while driving. Reports from the Kansas Department of Transportation show texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Currently though, the car is out of commission because students attempting to navigate it on a cone course hit a few too many cones.

"Our main goal is just continuing the education of people about the FACT Program," Fisher said. "We have a trailer and we will travel."

And while Fisher acknowledges the program takes a lot of time and requires plenty of leg work, the cause is near and dear to his heart. The trailer is equipped with a photo of his cousin Paige Nicole Estes who was killed by a drunk driver in 2005.

To book Fisher, Warkentin and Racy for a presentation or for help with a car seat, call the Ford County Sheriff's Office at (620) 227-4508 or the Dodge City Police Department at (620) 225-8135. Follow Abigail on Twitter, @Abigail_dcglobe.