Let’s talk about convincing younger drivers not to drink and drive. There are two common industry practices that are well intended but genuinely bad ideas.
First, some simulation systems on the market today feature the ability to set up the simulator to mimic various levels of blood alcohol level (BAC) impairment. If you put a teen on that simulator with that lesson, the challenge to them becomes, “Oh, so this simulator is going to show me how much I CAN drink and still drive”. With the actual answer always being ZERO, why would a simulator imply that .04 is OK? This is a TERRIBLE idea! It is OK to show impairment (delayed wheel input response) to teach more challenging handling but it is the consequence of what happens when you drive drunk that it the key message. When they realize they will hurt people, hurt themselves, go to jail, spend money, etc. then THAT makes them more likely to say “no” to impaired driving.
The second common approach is the “drunk goggles in a golf cart” event day. Again, a well-intended event most often held by our finest law enforcement groups. But honestly, simply putting on drunk goggles that blur your vision and then hit cones in a golf cart has got to be about the most FUN a kid can have. The message law enforcement wants to pass on is the serious nature of drunk driving but what the kids experience and remember is the sheer joy of ripping through a parking lot partially blind hitting orange cones. How is that a deterrent?
I’d never criticize anyone for trying to keep our roads and our families safe through events and products but being mindful of looking at the event through the eyes of the teen drivers gives clarity to what they will take away from the experience.
By Bob Davis, CEO & President VDI