Ford is on a mission to teach young people the dangerous effects of driving under the influence of illegal drugs. It’s created a“Drugged Driving Suit” that simulates the effects of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD and MDMA. Ford introduced a suit focused on alcohol’s effects back in 2014.
“Driving after taking illegal drugs can have potentially fatal consequences for the driver, their passengers, and other road users,” says James Graham, global program manager for Ford Driving Skills for Life. “We have already seen first-hand the eye-opening effect that our Drunk Driving Suit has had on those who wear it, and are confident that our new Drugged Driving Suit will have a similar impact.”
Ford developed the suit with researchers at the Meyer-Hentschel Institute in Germany. It uses vision impairment glasses, headphones, padding and ankle weights and even a tremor generator to give the wearer the sensations of being on drugs.
“We know that some drugs can cause trembling hands, so we incorporated a device into the suit that creates just such a tremor,” said Gundolf Meyer-Hentschel, CEO of the Meyer-Hentschel Institute. “Drug users sometimes see flashing lights in their peripheral field, an effect recreated by our goggles, while imaginary sounds are generated by the headphones. Additionally, the goggles distort perception, and produce colorful visual sensations – a side effect of LSD use.”
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 9.9 million people 12 and older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs. Ford also says that according to NHTSA, approximately 18 percent of all deadly crashes involve drugs like marijuana and cocaine.
The suit is part of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life online and real-world driving school. The driver education program has provided free training to more than half a million people around the world. Ford created the program in 2003 in conjunction with the Governors Highway Safety Association.