Students in Collier County will soon get a chance to feel what it’s like to drive under the influence – thanks to a new vehicle that simulates impaired driving. SIDNE (syndney)—or The Simulated Impaired Driving Experience – is an electric go-cart that allows drivers – once a switch is thrown – to feel like they’re driving drunk. The Collier County Sheriff’s office saw the 13-thousand dollar vehicle at a conference – but didn’t have money to buy it… until several local businesses stepped forward to foot the bill. Safety and Traffic officer - Lt. Harold Minch- says the hands-on experience is invaluable.
“Especially for new drivers who may have not had a lot of time behind the wheel – they actually have to control it on a course first as it drives regular, and then we hit a switch and can control your level of impairment as it drives around and simulates that. Because with kids we find they’re their best teachers – when they get to feel it and touch it and drive it it’s better than having a 42 year old man stand in front of you and tell you it’s bad to do something…we’d rather have you see that for yourself.”
The SIDNE go-cart will only be driven on an enclosed obstacle course – under direct supervision.
Students must first get a feel for driving on the “normal” setting before teachers throw the switch. Once it’s thrown - the level of impairment can be controlled remotely. Officers are undergoing training over the summer – and then will begin putting SIDNE to use once school’s back in session. Drivers education classes will be targeted first – but Lt. Minch says they may eventually use it on adults, also.
Wednesday, 03 August 2005 01:00