Drugs are responsible for a huge number of American road fatalities every year, but alcohol is usually denounced as the main contributor to this danger. To draw attention to the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, Ford has created a ridiculous full-body intoxication simulator dubbed the “Drug Driving Suit.” The full-body system is designed to simulate the effects of drugs on driver attention, coordination, and reaction times behind the wheel.
The Drug Driving Suit is a natural progression from Ford’s 2014 Drunk Driving Suit in building driver safety awareness. Driving under the influence of drugs (including alcohol) is dangerous, not to mention illegal. About 18 percent of driver deaths involve drugs other than alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Findings from a 2013 survey on Drug Use and Health showed that nearly 10 million Americans admitted driving under the influence of drugs.
To curb these statistics, Ford’s Drug Driving Suit simulates the unique way that drugs other than alcohol can impair driver ability. Heavy weights and bulky padding placed strategically around the limbs limit mobility and slow down response times. Specially designed goggles cut out peripheral vision to mimic drugged tunnel vision, and issue random flashing lights to distract the driver. Headphones are used to limit awareness, and also play recordings of randomized sounds to create auditory distractions. Finally, kinetic gloves simulate tremors that make it difficult to control fine motor skills and coordination.
“Driving after taking illegal drugs can have potentially fatal consequences for the driver, their passengers, and other road users,” said Jim Graham, manager of the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. The Drug Driving Suit will become a part of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program, which educates young drivers about road safety and the dangers of driving under the influence. Ford’s program allows young and new drivers to wear the Drug and Drunk Driving Suits, and provides driving lessons in a monitored, closed course environment.