May 21st, 2019

Driving drunk not ‘suit’able for anyone


By Kalinowski, Tim on March 15, 2019.

Bryan Beattie struggles to stay balanced while trying out the ÒDrunk SuitÓ at Dunlop Ford Thursday morning. Dunlop Ford teamed up with MADD to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving ahead of St. Patricks Day by allowing members of the public to try on the suit, which imitates the effects of intoxication. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Struggling to stand on one leg, touch their noses or walk in a straight line, several members of the local media and public came out to Dunlop Ford Thursday morning to take part in the company’s “Drunk Suit Challenge” to help raise awareness of the issue of impaired driving in the community.

Participants donned leg, arm and neck weights, wore a pair of distorted goggles and pulled on a headset to muffle their hearing before taking part in a series of common roadside drunk-driving tests.

“It actually mimics experiencing impairment,” explained Dunlop Ford general sales manager and partner Shaun Henderson. “By putting the suit on and going through a series of obstacles, it lets people know what impairment does to their ability to be co-ordinated and potentially drive a vehicle.”

With National Impaired Driving Awareness Week starting Monday, and with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday falling on a Sunday this year, Henderson said his company wanted to do its part to prevent any potential drunk driving in the community.

“St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and there are some celebrations and things which are going to happen,” Henderson said. “People are going to have a lot of fun, just as people are having a lot of fun here (with the drunk suit) today. But the seriousness of potentially getting behind the wheel of a car and driving – it is really important people not do that if they have been drinking.”

Representatives of the Lethbridge and area chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving were also on hand to watch the drunk suit challenge, and lend their support to the awareness message Dunlop Ford was trying to convey.

“Any education for the general public is great,” said Lethbridge chapter victim support volunteer and president Anita Huchala.

“It just always keeps it in the forefront of their mind to find an alternate way home if they have been drinking, whether that’s to phone a taxi, calling Uber or a friend – anything like that.”

She said while participants in the drunk suit challenge were having some fun on Thursday, for local victims of drunk drivers the challenge took on a different complexion.

“Right now, we are supporting the Provost family that went through losing their loved one to a drunk driver,” Huchala stated.

“We have gone through that with them, and they have embraced us. This drunk suit challenge is a fun activity, but there is a serious issue which we are trying to address with it. Next week is the National Impaired Driving Awareness Week. It is the second one we have done as a local chapter, and I think it is great to be introducing it (at Dunlop Ford) today.”

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