Automakers proactively encouraging safe driving habits is nothing new, but with Ford’s Driving Skills for Life Program, new drivers actually get a chance to get behind the wheel inhibited by physical aids that recreate the feeling of being drunk behind the wheel
It’s your choice whether you believe that Ford’s equipment for “drunk-handicapping” their test subjects does in fact work as promised. Some of the young people tested even admit on camera to having never been drunk before.
And just how wasted are these subjects supposed to be in their gear? The full regalia used for the field sobriety test portion of the program has them practically in bondage with restrictions of joint movement and added weight.
The field test portion of the program is good for a few laughs as participants attempt to walk a straight line unsuccessfully and place their finger on their nose. Granted, it could have been the earmuffs they were made to wear that kept them from properly executing the commands — but hey, we’ve all missed the odd comment or two after a visit to the bar, so perhaps the handicaps are fair after all.
Getting Behind the Wheel
Adding to the fun are a pair of “drunk goggles” that participants are forced to wear. While the other handicaps can come off for the driving test, these have to stay on. Makes you wonder what happened to all the motor skills degradation that was just simulated in those field tests? Doesn’t that stay with you in real life?
Planted in the driver’s seat, our teenage wheelmen and women attempt to navigate an obstacle course without killing too many cones. It goes about as well as the straight line test, with speeds staying low and not all of the cones escaping unscathed.
During their time in the Ford test car, subjects note how difficult it is to see and how hard they had to work to avoid even some cones. Again, reality might reserve actual blindness for those who commit their weekends to drinking moonshine, but it’s a good lesson.
In the end, it’s probably best that we take participant Steven’s advice on how to plan your night around getting a ride home, even if you don’t take his advice on hair color.