With Georgia’s high school prom season coming up in March and April, now is the ideal time to have an important discussion about — and demonstrate the dangers of — driving under the influence.

On March 6 at Lassiter High School in Marietta, the Cobb County School District partnered with the Ford Motor Company to educate students on the dangers of drunk driving. Lassiter High School’s HOSA-Future Health Professionals club hosted the educational event for fellow students that highlighted the negative effects of drinking alcohol.

Cobb County Police Officer Fernando Pharr first delivered a 20-minute presentation, followed by mock sobriety tests with students wearing Ford Motor Company’s innovative Drunk Driving Suit. Officer Pharr instructed students through several tests designed to assess the student’s level of “impairment” and subsequent ability to drive.

Ford’s Drunk Driving Suit has several components that mimic the effects of being under the influence, such as reducing the wearer’s mobility and coordination. The suit comes with goggles to reduce and impair visibility, headphones to reduce hearing and several joint limiters.

“I couldn’t even stand without support, let alone take the nine steps Officer Pharr asked me to take,” said Neel Iyer a sophomore at Lassiter High School in Marietta and secretary of the HOSA club. “There is no way I could have passed that mock sobriety test.”

“Wearing Ford’s impairment suit, otherwise known as Ford’s Drunk Driving Suit, is eye-opening and Ford’s hope is that the more people who get to experience it,” says Jeremy Smith, general manager of Jim Tidwell Ford, “the more lives will be touched with the lesson to never get behind the wheel after being impaired.”

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. High school prom season makes the timing right to highlight the dangers of driving impaired.

  • About one in seven teens binge drinks, yet only 1 in 100 parents believe his or her teen binge drinks.
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,300 people each year – that’s more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Over 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol.
  • Over a quarter of 8th graders have tried alcohol.
  • 20%: A percentage of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in which alcohol was a factor in 2016.

It is important to educate students on the dangers of driving while impaired. An effective way to scare people away from a bad idea is to show them the consequences of their actions. Ford has developed a solution that enables those consequences to be experienced in a safe, controlled environment. Wearing the Drunk Driving Suit is eye-opening, and Ford hopes that the more people experience it, the more lives will be touched with the lesson to never get behind the wheel while impaired.