Automakers Ford have joined forces with German scientists to create the Drug Driving Suit. It's a costume containing padding, weights, and goggles, and designed to show young drivers the potential effects on them of taking illegal substances before getting behind the wheel. Jim Drury reports.
The dangers of driving while on drugs might seem obvious. But an alarming number of road deaths involve a driver under their influence. Carmakers Ford have developed this ingenious way of educating young drivers - the Drug Driving suit. SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLOTTE WARD, FORD SPOKESPERSON, SAYING: "We start with very heavy ankle weight, then you've got knee padding, knee restraints, restricting movement. We've then got two wrist weights, elbow restrictions, the tremor glove, neck brace to again restrict movement, the goggles which distort the vision and with the flashing lights can help create this kind of tunnel vision effects and then we've got the headphones playing this sort of horrible noise." Young drivers on Ford's Driving Skills for Life program get behind the wheel on a closed road while wearing the suit. This volunteer is having trouble navigating cones. UPSOT: VOLUNTEER SAYING "It's very very difficult to see anything. I've absolutely no idea of space......Oops. We've hit a cone." Reversing proves equally tough. UPSOT: VOLUNTEER SAYING "This I fear is going to be quite tricky".....HORN SOUNDS SOUNDBITE (English) PAUL FAY, VEHICLE SAFETY MANAGER AT FORD, SAYING: "The suit is designed not to produce the sensation of being on drugs, but to reproduce the side effects which may have a dangerous effect on your driving." The suit was developed with scientists from the Meyer-Hentschel Institute. It follows last year's release of Ford's Drink Driving Suit. The car giants hope that preventing even one drug-related road death will make the program worthwhile.