To cut road deaths: Testing the vibrating drug-driving suit
To cut the number of deaths on British roads, a thousand young drivers have been given the chance to wear the first ‘drug driving suit’ launched on the evening before a campaign.
Developed by Ford manufacturers, the suit feigns symptoms of being drunk or high to give young drivers an idea at the wheel about the effect it has.
Driving under the influence of ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and LSD is also simulated.
A thousand young drivers this weekend, aged between 18-24, have signed up for a series of free training sessions at London’s ExCeL Centre at Ford’s Driving Skills For Life.
Developed by a team of German scientists, the suit is the first of its kind to be developed.
A neck brace is worn out to prevent vital safety maneuvers like checking for blind spots.
Restricted movements are caused by wrist weights and wearing ankle combined with elbow and knee strappings to slow reactions in line with taking cannabis.
While wobbly hands triggered by a tremor generator attached to the wrist replicates erratic, adrenaline fuelled actions caused by cocaine.
Headphones emanating background noise to add further confusion completes the suit, which was developed by a team of Ford’s German scientists.
The ‘beer goggle’ effect is made through vision impairment glasses, which are installed with flashing lights to distract drivers
According to the AA, drug-driving results in about 200 deaths a year and 400 arrests a month but experts believe a more precise figure of mortalities is nearer to duple that number.
“Drug driving really has been the hidden road safety issue for 10 years.”, said AA President Edmund King.
“We have certainly been campaigning with the police and Government to do more about it. 200 people a year are killed on the roads due to drug driving as per the official figures show.
“We actually think the real figures are more than double that.
“If alcohol is present, they assume that’s the reason yet we know that many teenagers will have a drink then take drugs, the problem is not all coroners test for drugs in road crashes.
“The test here clearly shows that if you simulate what happens when you’ve taken drugs you really can’t drive.
Started on Friday at the ExCeL Centre, Ford’s Driving Skills For Life, in partnership with the AA, and ends on Sunday. Just before the launch of the annual week-long Road Safety Week, the event has taken place.
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