Ford Motor Company has added a unique exhibit to its “Driving Skills for Life” traveling program which is aimed at providing exactly what its title suggests to newly licensed drivers and their parents. That exhibit is a wearable “Drugged Driving Suit.”
Wearing the suit purportedly simulates the physical effects of having ingested several illicit drugs including stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. The purpose of having participants wear the suit is to show them how difficult it is to drive while under the influence of drugs on a closed course.
The suit consists of neck, knee and elbow bandages which restrict movement. Weights affixed to the person’s wrists and ankles affects the person’s balance and slows reaction time. A “tremor generator” makes the hands shake. Headphones play background noises and are meant to distract the person. Lastly, “vision impairment glasses” blurs the wearer’s vision and creates tunnel vision.
While the suit is intended to mimic the effects of driving under the influence of drugs, it seems to me that suit really only shows the wearer of the suit what it’s like to drive while being obstructed by the suit, the effects of which only tangentially resemble the effects of drugs. Different drugs have different effects and affect each person differently.
This is not to say that driving under the influence of drugs is easy, nor should a person think that it is okay to drive while under the influence of drugs. Whatever the effect may be or how a person experiences any particular type of drug, it is nonetheless driving under the influence, it is extremely dangerous, and it could land you a California DUI of drugs.
Ford’s “Driving Skills for Life” program is in its 13th year and has provided about 800,000 new drivers with skills on safe driving. This year, the program will have 15 stops in Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, right here in California, and several foreign countries.