Impaired drivers continue to pose a safety risk

Although modern vehicles are significantly safer than their counterparts from the past, the work that engineers put into protecting drivers only helps if people respect the rules of the road.

While road accidents are declining, drunk driving is still a threat to drivers.

After all, despite the rise of preventative safety measures such as electronic stability control and autonomous emergency braking, it's still up to drivers to limit the risks they take. For fleet managers, it's essential to educate drivers on the many dangers associated with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Despite reports from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development which state that road accidents and deaths are declining in Australia, specific accidents are becoming more prominent for the country's drivers. 

Drunk driving defines accident reports

The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) reported on statistics from the Department of Transport and Main Roads which noted that Queensland is home to a disproportionate amount of accidents as a result of drugged and drunk drivers. 

According to the statistics, the Gold Coast region observes the highest accident rate, with an average of 6.2 fatal crashes per year as the result of impaired drivers. The message from the RACQ comes at a time when traffic in this area and the rest of the country increases. With Schoolies in process and the holiday period around the corner, it's important that drivers remain alert. 

"Your ability to operate a vehicle is severely compromised if you're intoxicated," RACQ Spokesperson Lauren Ritchie explained. 

"You risk not only your life and your passenger's but every other person on the road."

Drinking and driving don't mix. Drinking and driving don't mix.

How do alcohol and drugs affect drivers?

To illustrate just how profound the effects of drunk and drugged driving are, Ford created a suit that allows people to experience these forces in a safe manner. 

Ford's creation comprised of a number of features designed to reduce the wearer's cognitive ability and mimic how a person under the influence sees the world. This included vision impairment glasses to reduce how far people could see, neck bandages to reduce head movement and even tremor generators to make the wearer's hands shake. 

Testing the suit would likely be an interesting experience for fleet managers, with CEO of the Meyer-Hentschel Institute Gundolf Meyer-Hentschel revealing the extent of the testing that took place. 

"Drug users sometimes see flashing lights in their peripheral field, an effect recreated by our goggles, while imaginary sounds are generated by the headphones," he explained.

"Additionally, the goggles distort perception, and produce colourful visual sensations - a side effect of LSD use."

Ultimately, while modern vehicles are much safer than they used to be, it's up to drivers to ensure they're following best practice behind the wheel.