Calgary officers test new suit that simulates drugged driving
Ford’s Drugged Driving Suit will be used to teach young drivers alcohol is the only factor in driving impaired
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A member of the Calgary police spent Wednesday morning weighted down, seeing double and trembling.
Geared up in Ford’s new Drugged Driving Suit, Constable Jeremy Shaw completed a road-side sobriety test while the suit simulated the effects of drug use.
“I felt like I was in a bubble,” said Shaw.
“As soon as I put the goggles on, everything changed. I couldn’t even tell which way was straight.”
Using weights, padding, flashing goggles, headphones and a device that generated a tremor in the hand, the suit simulates the slow reaction time and poor coordination associated with drug use.
The suit is the only one of its kind and just arrived in Calgary for a five-day visit. While here, the suit will be used to as a part of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program, showing novice drivers the impact drugs can have on the road.
“There are so many new drivers who don’t get a chance to experience something like this until it’s too late,” said Greg Eagleson, general manager of Cam Clark Ford in Airdrie. “But this way they actually have the chance to put on the suit and see that they don’t have as much control as they think they do.”
Calgary police and Ford’s new driver program hope to use the suit to warn all Calgarians of the dangers of driving impaired, which includes the use of drugs.
Constable Travis Robertson from the Alcohol and Drug Recognition Unit said that, while the anti-drinking and driving message has been sinking into the public’s mind, the anti-drug impaired driving message hasn’t.
“What we’re starting to see in Calgary is an increase – year after year – of drug-impaired drivers that we’re catching,” he continued. “When we look at the overall picture of impaired driving, alcohol is almost starting to take a back seat to drugs.”
With the holiday season approaching and National Safe Driving Week starting on December 1, Robertson said he hopes the young drivers who have the chance to try on the suit will make a change.
“It comes down to the fact that when you put a drug in your body, your body will react to it,” he said. “And that can have consequences beyond measure.”