Suit Up for Safety

Ford’s new Drugged Driving Suit teaches young people the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs.

The 2016 Ford Driving Skills for Life tour marks the 13th year the driving clinic will cross the United States and 34 other countries. This year’s Driving Skills for Life tour welcomes an innovative new addition: The Drugged Driving Suit — an ingeniously designed suit that teaches young people the dangers of driving under the influence of illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin and MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy).

Recent national data shows drugged driving is on the rise. 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.*  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 18 percent of all motor vehicle driver deaths involve drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana and cocaine.** And another NHTSA roadside survey found that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.*** To help curb this unfortunate trend, we teamed with leading scientists from the respected Meyer-Hentschel Institute in Germany to develop the Drugged Driving Suit.

Like the Drunk Driving Suit we incorporated into the Driving Skills for Life program last year, the new Drugged Driving Suit re-creates the reduced mobility, slowed reaction time, distorted vision, hand tremors and poor coordination that occurs when driving under the influence of drugs. To simulate these affects the Suit was equipped with specially designed padding, ankle weights, goggles and headphones.

“Driving after taking illegal drugs can have potentially fatal consequences for the driver, their passengers, and other road users. 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.”

What’s in a Suit?

Headphones – play background sounds to confuse and distract
Vision Impairment Glasses – produce blurred vision, flashing lights and cause tunnel vision
Neck Bandages – restrict head movement
Elbow Bandages – slow movement
Wrist weight – slows reaction time, affects balance
Tremor Generator – makes hands shake
Knee Bandages – slow movement
Ankle Weight – worn opposite wrist weight, slows reaction time, affects balance

View the Anatomy of a Drugged Driving Suit infographic

Established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts, Ford Driving Skills for Life is an award-winning novice driver education program. In its first 12 years the program has provided free training to more than half a million people globally — including 41,000 teens in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process that teaches skills beyond what most new drivers learn in basic driver’s education courses. The program’s curriculum focuses on vehicle handling, hazard recognition, and speed and space management, which account for 60 percent of all crashes. Training centers on hands-on ride-and-drive courses, classroom material and an interactive website.

This year we’re taking the Ford Driving Skills for Life program to 15 stops in the U.S., including Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and others. Learn more about the web-based curriculum and more at