Drug driving - do you think it is a problem?
Find out more, and let us know what you think at:
Watch the videos here or visit 'The Drug Driving question' YouTube channel to have your say. You will need Flash Player to be able to watch the videos.
'Weed' - survey results
'Pills' - survey results
'P' - survey results
'Prescription medication' - survey results
Driving under the influence of drugs is common and widespread, yet only one in 10 New Zealanders perceive it to be an issue. This is well behind drink driving in terms of public concern.
It is a complex issue with multiple substances (both legal and illicit) and different effects on driving. Our audience is also potentially very broad and research into key target groups is limited. Unlike drink driving, safe limits cannot be established and it is difficult to enforce.
In comparison to drink driving, less is known about the extent of drugged driving in New Zealand and the impact it has on road safety. However, evidence suggests that drugs may be a bigger factor in crashes than officially reported.
Results of a study of the blood of deceased drivers show a number of trends that are of concern to road safety:
- 48 percent of drivers had used alcohol and/or drugs
- 30 percent of drivers had used cannabis with or without alcohol or other drugs
- 18 percent of drivers used alcohol with another drug(s)
- 14 percent had used drugs other than alcohol or cannabis.
Introducing the issue - the conversation starter
This is a long-term behavioural change campaign aimed at reducing the harm caused by drugged drivers. At this point, our aim is simply to raise awareness of the issue of drug-driving, create conversations and encourage debate about the issue.
We want people to reconsider their current views (typically complacent or ignorant) about driving on drugs, or to question just how safe it is drive under the influence of drugs. One of our key challenges is that many people currently believe there is either no change in their driving, or that drugs actually make them drive more safely.
We will be doing this by exploring the logic that taking drugs impairs driving. After all, taking certain drugs can impair you, and consequently if you drive while on these drugs, your driving is undoubtedly impaired.
Our approach is deliberately provocative but also non-judgmental. We're encouraging people to talk about a sensitive issue and consider how they feel about it, not telling them what they should think.
We will be targeting drugged drivers and people who know them and socialise with them - friends and family who choose to 'turn a blind eye' when someone ignores their prescription drug warning or smokes a joint and then gets behind the wheel.
It is essential that this campaign captures the attention and intrigue of the audience to evoke the conversation and debate around the issue of driving on drugs. To achieve this we've produced a campaign that has captured passengers' real reactions when they perceive their driver is driving while on drugs.
Just prior to the advertising campaign launch we will actively promote the reality of it through television / online activity and other PR opportunities, highlighting the behind-the-scenes story. The aim of this is to spark that intrigue and ensure that the audience understands the ads are real, controlled scenarios, and that the drivers are actors, not taxi drivers or any other drivers.
Over four days we filmed 147 people who thought they were being driven to a 'costume fitting' for a TV commercial. What they didn't realise is that their 'driver' was actually an actor who was faking that he/she was driving on drugs.
Four lead actors drove the crew vehicles which shuttled the unsuspecting actors to their 'costume fittings'. Each of these lead actors pretended to have recently taken one of four drugs: cannabis, prescription medication, party pills [Ecstasy], and 'P'. Hidden cameras in the crew vehicles captured all of their real and sometimes hard to watch reactions.
The people we have used in the series of ads have all given their consent to be used.
The campaign will launch on 15 January with a six week TV flight. The ads all end with the tagline "Drug driving. Do you think it's a problem?" and the aim is that this will spur the debate and encourage the conversation.
In addition to TV, we will also provide channels that encourage people to discuss drug driving and react in some way. These channels include YouTube; web forums; online ads; a Facebook page; and a stationary digital billboard in a public pedestrian Auckland venue [location still to be confirmed].
Through all of these channels the audience will be able to interact, post comments and opinions, vote on latest poll questions and see live results. Our plan is to launch a 'national poll', gauging how New Zealanders feel about drug driving in real time. Each week we'll pose a different question, inviting the public to tell us what they think with a simple YES or NO vote. 'U' TV, Z Service Stations and street posters will also be used for the polling component of the campaign.
The advertising will be supported by facts and evidence of harm through news media activity and key spokespeople will encourage a more balanced debate.
A staged approach
Each aspect of the campaign will be closely monitored to gauge public reactions and news media interest. Ongoing monitoring is critical to inform the next stage of the programme.
Once the issue is in the public consciousness, the next stage will be to respond to specific views that emerge from Stage one. We want to actively encourage public involvement and adapt the programme to address the drugs, myths and information needs that emerge.
- Marijuana adshell (PDF, 962KB)
- Ecstasy adshell (PDF, 890KB)
- Prescription medication adshell (PDF, 1.30MB)
- Speed adshell (PDF, 943KB)
- NZ Drugs Foundation Facebook page
- Drug affected driving new advertising campaign - further information and 'frequently asked questions' (PDF, 9 pages, 92 KB).