A driving school in Japan is holding ‘drunk driving’ lessons where its students consume alcohol and then attempt to carry out different driving manoeuvres.
The bizarre course is being held under supervised conditions at the Chikushino Driving School in Chikushino City, Fukuoka Prefecture, with full police approval.
The sessions are part of a police campaign ahead of the 17th anniversary of a notorious crash where a drunk driver killed three children.
The school tells potential students: “We will have you experience how much driving behaviour changes before and after drinking.”
Local reporters Ryohei Sato and Kawa Huilin signed up for a class and shared their experiences during a session on 21st August.
Drivers are tested on different skill sets once while sober, and again after they have downed a can of beer and some liquor provided by the school.
Sato then told how his colleague, Kawa, sat behind the wheel with more than twice the legal amount of alcohol in his blood.
Sato said: “Despite Kawa’s face turning red and expressing symptoms like cold hands and palpitations, he stated, ‘My consciousness is clear. I feel like I could drive,’ and took the driver’s seat.
“After the reporter Kawa started the car, I, sitting in the back seat, immediately noticed something was amiss.
“During the early part of the course, on the straightaways and curves, there was excessive acceleration and deceleration, causing my body to be jolted forwards and backwards each time.”
Although Sato said the driver could barely navigate the obstacles, Kawa still felt pretty confident in his skills.
Driving instructor Kubota said: “Despite the delay in necessary cognitive functions, judgment, and operations required for driving, the individual believes they are capable of ‘safe driving.’
“This is the terrifying aspect of drunk driving.”
In Japan, the maximum alcohol level allowed is 0.15 milligrams per litre of exhaled air.
According to Fukuoka Prefectural Police, out of the 1,391 individuals arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in 2022, 1,122 (80.7 per cent) were classified as high-concentration drivers.
In 2023, among the 883 arrestees up until the end of July, 672 (76.1 per cent) were high-concentration drivers, showing a consistent trend.
According to the National Police Agency, the likelihood of a traffic accident involving drink driving to be fatal is seven times higher than those without alcohol involvement.
Yoichi Furukawa, Chief of the Prefectural Police Traffic Guidance Division, stated: “Considering the premise that impaired judgment accompanies alcohol consumption, I urge individuals to thoroughly manage risks before drinking, such as avoiding driving to an izakaya (Japanese pub) from the start.”