VIDEO: RCMP stage virtual drunk driving test for reporters

By Kevin Martel
December 13, 2013 - 4:37pm

Of all places, RCMP Depot is likely last on a list where you would expect to see drunk driving. But with the help of driver training simulators, that experience can be recreated in a controlled environment.

On Friday officers invited members of the local media to test out these simulators to understand what it’s like to drive in different scenarios where your ability may be impaired.

Unfortunately the holiday season is one of if not the worst times of the year for impaired driving. Corporal Curtis Parker wanted to help make the public aware of this by demonstrating the difficulties, dangers and consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking. The impairment level can be set on a scale of one to five. Cpl. Parker explained what that means in this case.

“It feels a little over-exaggerated, your movements while you’re at this level. You may be wandering a little bit more. If you start wandering and try and correct yourself you’d be kind of overcorrecting yourself,” he said.

Along with mimicking impairment the driving simulator can also re-create hazardous conditions such as snow and ice.

“We can create police vehicles, people walking across the street, pedestrians, dogs,” Parker said.

Not surprisingly, many reporters who went for a controlled ‘drinking and driving’ test had problems on the virtual road.

“They were sliding side-to-side quite a bit. I saw a few 180s and 360s out there as well with our media,” revealed Parker.

The simulators have been in place since 2008, costing roughly $100,000 each. They're an important training tool since the impaired setting helps teach cadets what to watch for when patrolling the roads in real life.

“It’s available for the cadets just to watch the view. It’s something they can look for: different behaviours, something that would normally not be expected from the drivers in the community.”

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