'Sensible stoners' are the target of a new advertising
campaign which aims to reduce the number of crashes on our
NZ Transport Agency advertisements, which begin screening
tonight, target drivers aged in their 30s and 40s who think
it's okay to drive after using cannabis.
The ads are the first in New Zealand to directly target
cannabis users who drive under the influence. According to
the NZ Drug Foundation, two-thirds of cannabis users admit to
driving under the influence of drugs.
"By and large these people are not risk-takers. We're talking
to the 'sensible stoners' who believe that using cannabis has
little impact on their driving," said Transport Agency road
safety director Ernst Zollner.
"Many believe that they are safer drivers because they think
they're more focused, drive slower and are therefore more
careful on the roads. They don't consider what they're doing
to be dangerous - but we're asking them to reconsider that
notion, because the facts tell a very different story."
International evidence shows drivers under the influence of
cannabis are more likely to cause car crashes, and the more
cannabis smoked, the worse the driving is.
Recent studies show drivers with cannabis - and no other
substances - in their systems were almost twice as likely to
be to blame for a fatal car crash than unimpaired drivers.
Drivers with higher doses of cannabis in their systems were
more likely to be at fault in the crash that killed them.
"While it's a commonly held belief that drivers under the
influence of cannabis are safer because they drive more
slowly, the evidence clearly shows that cannabis use slows
down reaction times, which means you are more likely to
crash," Mr Zollner said.
"Road crashes happen very suddenly and unexpectedly, and
slower reaction times mean you're much less likely to see a
crash coming in time to avoid it."
The new ads mark the second stage in a long-term Transport
Agency campaign aimed at challenging misconceptions about
A recent Transport Agency national poll showed 56 per cent of
respondents thought drug-driving was a problem, and 32 per
cent considered it safe to use cannabis then drive.
The new campaign uses community 'experts' who have regular
contact with those who drive after using cannabis, including
bakery owners, dairy owners, fish and chip shop workers and
the children of those who use the drug. It aims to get
drugged drivers to acknowledge that when they use cannabis,
they are slower at doing everyday tasks.
"We're simply looking for these people to acknowledge that
cannabis slows their reaction times, and to start to question
the safety of their driving when their ability to react to a
situation may not be as fast as it could be," Mr Zollner
More than half (58 per cent) of all New Zealand drivers under
the influence of cannabis think being stoned makes no
difference to their driving ability, said the Drug