Ford’s foray into V.R., kinda.
In a fantastically dramatic attempt to teach young drivers about the perils of driving under the influence of a whole smorgasbord of drugs (including alcohol), Ford has launched the “Drugged Driving Suit,” which they’ll be taking on tour during their global Ford Driving Skills for Life program. The suit is kind of like a full-body V.R. experience – a little less high tech of course, but pretty similar when you think about it. The idea is to safely dissuade folks from driving under the influence by simulating what it’s like to drive under the influence – the suit generates hand tremors, messes with your vision in a whole bunch of potentially dangerous ways, slows your elbow movement, weighs down your walk… The only thing it doesn’t do is make you want to text your ex from like six years ago that you’re sorry and you’re ready to start anew and you’re totally willing to move to Seattle now if they’d just take you back.
It’s a cool idea in principle, but it seems like the sort of initiative that would only work on people who weren’t going to drive under the influence anyway – young drivers or people who are already sober. Or anyone who hasn’t done drugs or drank, really. Unfortunately the biggest issue with drugs and alcohol is that in the moment, it often feels like you are in control, even if you aren’t – by the time you’re as far gone as the Ford Drugged Driving Suit is simulating, you’re more likely to be passing out on your friend’s couch than you are to be jumping into a car. But hey, good for them for trying.
In the end, the most effective route might be going the way of Canada and Ireland: airing scary-as-hell PSAs that beat the desire to drive drunk or high out of people then and there.
Here’s a handy infographic on the DRUGGED DRIVING SUIT: