Leo Kaytes Ford and Warwick Valley High School steer students away from driving drunk or drugged by simulating how their ability to drive is diminished

Leo Kaytes Ford and Warwick Valley High School steer students away from driving drunk or drugged by simulating how their ability to drive is diminished


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Photos



  • Officer Michael Kearns instructs a student wearing Ford's Drugged Driving Suit.




  • Provided photos From left: Leo Kaytes Jr. of Leo Kaytes Ford, Warwick Valley High School Principal Dr. Larry Washington, and Rick Braun and Leslie Colkin of Leo Kaytes Ford before the test drive in the parking lot of Warwick Valley High School.




  • Athletic Director Greg Sirico drives a Ford Mustang provided by Leo Kaytes Ford while in the Ford's Drugged Driving Suit on a test track set up at Warwick Valley High School.




— On Friday, Dec. 14, Leo Kaytes Ford partnered with Warwick Valley High School to show students the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

During their physical fitness classes, more than 100 Warwick Valley High students were able to test out two of Ford’s innovative Drugged Driving and Drunk Driving simulation suits.

Warwick Police Officers Michael Kearns and Dave Serviss instructed each student through a mock sobriety test. The officers assessed each student’s level of “impairment” and subsequent ability to drive, instructing each student through several tests.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The holidays are a particularly dangerous driving time of the year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the past five years, an average of 300 drivers have lost their lives in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

“Leo Kaytes Ford has been a part of the Warwick community for generations and it is so important to us that our community stays safe on the roads,” said Leo Kaytes Ford dealer principle, Leo Kaytes Jr. “These suits provide a controlled and eye-opening way for young drivers to experience first-hand the dangers of driving while impaired, and I’d like to thank the Warwick Valley High School for partnering with us to host this demonstration at this critical time of the year.”

Warwick Valley High School Principal Dr. Larry Washington addressed the students at the morning’s physical education classes.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to Leo Kaytes Ford,” Washington said. “I know that our students take to heart what they have learned from experiencing Ford’s Drugged and Drunk Driving Suits, especially when driving over the winter break.”

Mimic the effectsFord’s Drunk Driving and Drugged Driving suits have several components that mimic the effects of being under the influence by reducing the wearer’s mobility and coordination.

In both suits, neck, knee, and elbow bandages impede movement, while wrist and ankle weights slow reaction times and affect balance.

Each suit comes with goggles that produce blurred or tunnel vision that mimics being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Drugged Driving suit also includes a tremor generator to make the wearer’s hands shake.

“Getting behind the wheel while impaired is one of the most dangerous—and often fatal—decisions a young person can make,” Kearns said. “I’m thankful that Leo Kaytes Ford was able to bring their Drugged and Drunk Driving Suits to make that lesson hit home for our students.”

Reaction During their physical education classes, the students also viewed a video recorded by their peers in the film production department. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the film production students filmed the Athletic Director Greg Sirico testing out the Drugged Driving suit in a Ford Escape on a safety track. He experienced a mock pull-over by Kearns and was instructed through a sobriety test.

“Being in the Drugged Driving Suit was very disorienting, Sirico said. “I knocked over several cones and completely failed the sobriety test. It is so vital that no one—especially our students—ever drives in that condition. There is just no excuse.”

Senior Robert Maslanka was one of the students who tested out the drunk driving suit. He is a member of the Warwick Valley Student Health Coalition and a member of SADD, or Students Against Destructive Decisions, a club that works to help their peers make positive choices, particularly in relation to driving and substance use.

“I thought it was cool to be a part because it gives you a good example for kids my age,” Maslanka said. “Seeing this simulation allows them to make better decisions. Getting to see a live representation is an eye-opening opportunity that we should expand across the county.”

Nicole Agbo, another senior student and member of SADD, added: “I appreciated today’s demonstration because it helped students experience firsthand how limited our abilities are when we’re under the influence. I think every young person should have the opportunity to try out these suits and pledge to never drive while they’re drunk or on drugs.”

Leo Kaytes Ford is a family-owned dealership that has been in Warwick Valley since 1978.

By the numbersDecember is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. According to the New York State 2017 Highway Safety Annual Report, the following occurred in New York in 2016:

• 5,857 injuries due to alcohol related crashes

• 283 fatalities due to due to alcohol impaired driving

• 267 fatalities due to drug-related crashes

• 103 drivers age 20 or younger were involved in fatal crashes

Meanwhile, a study released this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that in 2016, 44 percent of fatally injured drivers with known results tested positive for drugs—a 16 percent increase from 2006.

Of the fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs, 38 percent were found with marijuana in their system.


By the numbers

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. According to the New York State 2017 Highway Safety Annual Report, the following occurred in New York in 2016:
• 5,857 injuries due to alcohol related crashes
• 283 fatalities due to due to alcohol impaired driving
• 267 fatalities due to drug-related crashes
• 103 drivers age 20 or younger were involved in fatal crashes
Meanwhile, a study released this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that in 2016, 44 percent of fatally injured drivers with known results tested positive for drugs — a 16 percent increase from 2006.
Of the fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs, 38 percent were found with marijuana in their system.




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