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Simulated Impaired Driving Program
Alcohol - The Drug of Choice
Alcohol is the drug of choice for millions of Americans. Make no mistake, it is a drug. More specifically, it is a central nervous system depressant that in moderation lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, among other things. In excess, it is the number one related factor in traffic accidents nationwide, along with domestic violence cases, assault and homicide.

The Little Elm Police Department believes that one of the key factors in combating this crisis is education. To that end, the Department provides educational programs to teens and adults of all ages. A valuable training aide in this process involves a product made by Innocorp, Ltd. called SIDNE®, which stands for Simulated Impaired DriviNg Experience.

About S.I.D.N.E.
Target Audience for S.I.D.N.E.
The SIDNE® program’s primary target audience is teenagers who are in the process of getting a driver’s license or who have just recently been issued a license. The hope is that by educating drivers early on about the dangers of drinking and driving they will be more responsible now, continuing on throughout their lifetime, by choosing to never drink and drive. Older drivers are the secondary audience, attempting to reinforce good habits and/or destroy bad ones related to driving while using alcohol or drugs.

Program ComponentsSIDNE Vehicle
The course operator, a police officer or other SIDNE® program trained person, allows the vehicle to have power through the use of a hand-held remote controlled transmitter aimed toward a receiver on the vehicle itself. The only other functions provided by the transmitter operator determine the maximum allowed speed, emergency braking should the driver not respond appropriately, and a switch changing the vehicle from regular to impaired mode.

Other than that, SIDNE® operates exactly like an automobile. The driver is always in control of the vehicle’s steering, braking and acceleration. This is true even when it’s in the impaired mode. In that mode, the vehicles steering, braking and acceleration is still operable by the driver, but the controls are delayed by about one second. This effectively simulates the effects of the human brain when impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Simulation Road Course
A simple course of roads is laid out by SIDNE® program trained operators using ordinary traffic cones. The cones are used to simulate road width, objects beside the road like other vehicles, people, trees, signs, etc. and to establish safety zones within which the vehicle operates. Participants are generally allowed to complete a full circuit of the course to demonstrate to them that it is drivable. Sometime during the second trip around, the transmitter operator switches the vehicle to impaired mode, making the controls more sluggish as described above. Drivers in this mode almost invariably wreck out on the simulated course, running over cones simulating children playing, road signs or other items.

The fact that the transmitter operator makes the switch to impaired mode without the driver’s knowledge effectively demonstrates the oftentimes real delayed effect of intoxication. In the real world, vehicle operators may sincerely believe they are sober enough to drive since they are not feeling the effects of the alcohol. Their condition however is subject to rapid and unexpected change. Suddenly, without warning, they become disoriented and sluggish in their response to real stimuli, often ending in disaster when it happens behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Each time the driver has a wreck by hitting one of the cones or by exiting the course, the message of driving while impaired is reinforced by officers. Drivers are questioned as to what happened, why they didn’t control the vehicle and so forth, driving home the message that driving while impaired is dangerous.

Persons who do not wish to drive may still get in on the SIDNE® experience. They ride with a driver, just as a passenger in an ordinary vehicle. After a simulated crash, the passenger is asked questions such as how it felt to be a passenger in a vehicle being operated by an impaired driver and having no direct control themselves. Their poor decision to ride with a person who is impaired may alter their lives as well, or even end it.

Program Requirements

SIDNE® is a high-tech piece of equipment with each computerized vehicle built by hand as orders are received. It is built looking much like a go-cart, but is much more sophisticated. Further, to insure the safety of all participants and spectators, a safety zone must be established around the entire perimeter of the course. Accordingly, it must be operated within certain constraints as follows:
  • Operating surface must be paved, either concrete or asphalt.
  • All loose rocks, debris and foreign material must be removed from the course.
  • The surface must be dry. No rain, snow or standing water of any kind.
  • An absolute minimum of 100 ft by 120 ft unobstructed surface is required

Inside Operations
SIDNE® may be operated inside or under a covered area, as long as the requirements above are met. In these cases, the floor may consist of any hard surface such as tile, linoleum, and wood. No carpet or similar type surface may be used.

SIDNE® is electrically powered and has a maximum top speed of only eight miles per hour, so it is very safe to operate. It is generally operated well below even that speed.

SIDNE® was made possible by a grant from the CoServ Charitable Foundation.

A grant proposal was written by Sergeant Steve Garst and submitted in the fall of 2006. The department was notified a short time later that the application was approved and a check was subsequently issued to the Department. The order was placed with Innocorp, Ltd. and SIDNE® arrived in January, 2007. The grant also provided for a single-axle trailer specially built to store and transport SIDNE®, making it possible to take the vehicle to any remote location. The terms of the grant also specified that the Little Elm Police Department would make the vehicle and its operators available to agencies around the area in an effort to expand the program and deliver the message to a greater number of persons.

To date, SIDNE® has been used at events hosted or sponsored by the following departments or agencies: Little Elm Police Department, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Carrollton Police Department, Irving Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Frisco Police Department, Brookhaven Police Department, and Brookhaven College.

Fatal VisionFatal Vision Goggles
A SIDNE® program is frequently done in conjunction with the use of Fatal Vision®.

Learn More / Request a Program

To learn more about SIDNE® products and how they are used please see the entire S.I.D.N.E. line of products.

To assist you in setting up a SIDNE® program please contact our Community Services Division via email or at (972) 377-1885.