New Simulated Drunk Driving Program in Arizona


In Scottsdale, Arizona, officials would like residents to know what it is like to drive drunk - without actually driving drunk. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country , but if that's not enough of a deterrent to get people to not drink and drive, Scottsdale's Youth and Family Services department hopes its new program will help.

The Youth and Family Services department is set to begin a simulated impaired driving experience program called SIDNE by using a battery-operated go-cart that simulates what it is like to drive drunk.

The East Valley Tribune reported that Hugh McGill, the manager of Scottsdale's Youth and Family Services department, says that he hopes that drivers of all ages - and especially teenagers - will try the simulated drunk driving experience in the SIDNE go-cart and then think twice before getting in the car with someone who has been drinking or drinking and driving themselves.

This may be one of those times.

The Youth and Family Services department is working with the Scottsdale Police Department to help get the message out to residents about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving. The SIDNE go-cart program was funded by a $24,000 grant from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The plan is for a course to be set up for the impaired driving simulator go-cart inside a gymnasium or in parking lots of area schools and community centers. Participants in the program will be seated, two at a time, in the SIDNE go-cart so that they may experience what it is like to both drive while impaired and ride with an impaired driver.

On the sidelines, the go-cart's brakes and steering will be controlled by a remote transmitter and the people in the go-cart will be able to experience different levels of impairment while driving and riding. The go-cart is able to be controlled to simulate different blood alcohol levels in drivers and as the blood alcohol content simulation increases, the go-cart ride changes to reflect the increased level of impairment.

Part of the grant money was also used to create educational videos about DUI and drunk driving and to purchase seven sets of "fatal vision" goggles that are designed to demonstrate how an impaired person's vision is distorted as the body's equilibrium is shifted.

While the SIDNE go-cart is designed to show sober people the dangers of drinking and driving vehicles, most people do not drive go-carts while impaired. However, if they do, they still may be subject to a DUI arrest, as a go-cart is in most cases considered a motor vehicle.

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