CAA’s new educational push about driving while high

The auto club takes a lighthearted approach to get people to consider how cannabis impacts their abilities behind the wheel.
CAA South Central Ontario-CAA launches cannabis education campai

Getting behind the wheel after using cannabis is not a good idea. To get this message across, the CAA’s South Central Ontario chapter’s campaign demonstrates how being high can hinder someone’s ability to do various tasks.

In new creative handled by The Turn Lab that launched this week, people that appear to be under the influence of cannabis are shown doing things like playing a game of ping pong to simply stepping into a swimming pool. But it also shows how being high can drastically impact their ability to competently complete these fairly simple tasks, as well as show how it changes their judgement, motor skills and coordination.

The videos for the “#DontDriveHigh” campaign are being pushed through social channels and on an online hub dedicated to cannabis impaired driving.

In the lead-up to legalization, the CAA ran a social campaign aimed at dispelling a sentiment that was found among some drivers in its research. It showed that 20% of people believed they drove the same or better after using cannabis. The creative was fairly straightforward, simply telling viewers that it wasn’t true.

To avoid fear-based messaging, the organization’s British Columbia affiliate took a different, more lighthearted approach to convince people not to drive high. In a campaign launched in the summer and later adapted nationally, the organization flipped the typical structure of impaired driving ads, making millennials speak to their parents about driving under the influence. That campaign was based on the insight that millennials are actually more likely than previous generations to make advanced plans for a safe ride home and to say they would never consider driving under the influence of any substance.

But more recent research has shown that while millennials are more likely to consume responsibly, the problem still persists among some members of the population. In particular, men between the ages of 25 and 34 seem to be more likely than the rest of the population to drive after consuming cannabis. Beyond that, most members of the general population in Ontario feel that there needs to be more public education about the negative effects of legalized cannabis. Teresa Di Felice, AVP of government relations at CAA SCO, said that despite the importance of the reminder, the organization still wanted to get the message across with “fun yet thought-provoking videos.”

The campaign also featured an experiential element on Monday, kicking off with an event at ping-pong club Spin in Toronto that let people play a game while wearing goggles that simulated the effects of cannabis, testing their reaction time and motor skills.