Police deploy 'drunk suit' in battle against impaired driving
Calgary media given chance to wear impairment-simulating gear while attempting sobriety test
As police in Calgary brace for the yearly spike in drinking and driving infractions during Stampede week, officers showed off a new tool for encouraging motorists to stay sober behind the wheel.
The "drunk driving suit", developed for Ford at the Meyer-Hentschel Institute in Germany, gives the wearer the illusion of being impaired by alcohol or drugs.
It consists of goggles that disorient vision, sound deadening ear muffs and balance-throwing ankle and wrist weights.
Members of the media got the chance to don the gear and try to pass a sobriety test at a demonstration on Wednesday.
"It's completely disorienting," said CBC Calgary reporter Devin Heroux. "There's no way it would be safe to operate a vehicle in that condition."
"Suffice to say I failed the sobriety test miserably,” he added.
So far this year, more than 1,000 people in have been charged with impaired driving in Calgary. And there have been four alcohol-related traffic deaths, police said.
The suit can be a great way to open people’s eyes to the dangers of driving drunk, said Insp. Ken Thrower.
“Just to make sure you understand, you know some people, they’ve had a few drinks and think they’re feeling OK, and you know, one day you have two or three. But you know what, you got two hours sleep and you didn’t eat, so guess what, it’s like having six or seven.”
Police plan to make the suit available for demonstrations in schools or to interested groups.