Show — don’t tell. This is a byword for teachers, writers, and communicators of all types. Which is why the Halifax Regional Police skipped the usual lectures about drunk driving and showed volunteers what alcohol does to your ability to control a car.
The Ford Motor Company in Europe originally developed the “Drunk Suit” as part of a worldwide campaign to make people aware of how truly handicapped you are if you’re driving under the influence of alcohol. Halifax conducts regular programs to educate people about impaired driving, as part of its efforts to bring down its DUI statistics. Last month the city charged 104 people with impaired driving.
The “Drunk Suit” suit consists of:
- Tunnel-vision glasses to simulate the impaired vision
- Ear muffs to reproduce impaired hearing
- Wrist and ankle weights to slow reaction time
- Padding to elbows, neck and knees to simulate poor coordination
The simulator gives people a rare chance to experience the physical effects of drunkenness while keeping their brain in good shape, in order to take stock of the experience. Ford’s motto for the demonstration is “Feel how you should never feel behind the wheel.”
In Europe the “Drunk Suit” is part of Ford’s Skills for Life program, which has had success driving home the dangers of drunk driving to young people. Now that the suit is available in North America, Ford — and the Halifax Regional Police — hope that young drivers here will get the message as well.