Stoned suit at Vancouver Auto Show mimics effects of drugs on drivers
Published Wednesday, March 23, 2016 5:18PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 23, 2016 5:44PM PDT
As Vancouver moves to license marijuana dispensaries and the federal government talks about legalizing the drug, the issue of people driving stoned has police concerned.
"For every three drivers impaired by alcohol, we're seeing one driver who is impaired by drugs,” said Sgt. Randy Fincham of the Vancouver Police Department.
At the Vancouver Auto Show, Ford Canada is showing off a suit that mimics the sensation of being under the influence of a variety of different drugs.
“We are seeing drugged-driving as an issue and that’s part of why we developed this suit so that we can get out to teens and other new drivers and just say, ‘Hey, this not the way you want to get behind the wheel,’” said Ford Canada’s Matt Drennan-Scace.
The suit includes glasses with blurry lenses and lights that simulate the effects of ecstasy and other rave drugs, and even a vibrating glove to recreate the tremors of heroin withdrawal.
It has weights that attach to the arms and legs to mimic the sluggishness associated with being stoned on marijuana.
“It's a misconception for people to think that they can consume marijuana, still get behind the wheel of a car and do it safely,” said Fincham.
Marijuana activist Jodie Emery disagrees, referring to a US government report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make her point.
"The more carefully controlled studies ... generally show reduced risk estimates or no risk associated with marijuana,” reads a portion of that report on driving under the influence.
That report was published in 2015 and looked at risks associated with alcohol, marijuana and other substances.
"Nobody advocates driving impaired. But for the majority of marijuana users, they drive safely on the road and they know when they're able or not able to actually get behind the wheel,” said Emery.
Fincham doesn’t think any level of marijuana impairment is safe for drivers and strongly disagrees with Emery’s assertion it is mostly harmless.
“You tell that to the family, the mother, father, brother or sister of someone who has lost their life to an impaired driver and I think those family members, as well as the community would have a different opinion about how dangerous it is,” he said.