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Visiting Wellington this week is a public education campaign which challenges drivers who think driving after smoking cannabis is okay.

The Steer Clear driving simulator is on display outside Te Wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront on 12 and 13 November. The New Zealand Drug Foundation is showcasing the education campaign to road safety experts attending the 2nd International Drugs and Driving Symposium.

Steer Clear focusses on 16 – 24-year-olds who use cannabis and drive, as well as their friends, and talks to them in a non-patronising way about how cannabis can impair driving.

"Lots of people don't think cannabis affects how they drive. But the evidence shows drug impaired drivers are a risk to themselves and others," says Ross Bell, New Zealand Drug Foundation's Executive Director.

"There have been some real tragedies after people have driven under the influence of drugs, and we've got to find ways to shake people out of their complacency. Rather than hand out another leaflet, we're bringing the issue out into the open, and getting people to talk about it."

"Our aim is to increase the number of young people who choose not to drive after using cannabis and increasing the number of young people who stop their friends from driving after cannabis use," Mr Bell said.

Hop into the Steer Clear simulator – masquerading as another-wise normal looking Toyota Hi-ace van – to play a game that highlights the dangers of driving after smoking cannabis. A team of trained educators get people talking about their experiences and share road safety messages. During visits to four North Island centres more than 10,000 young people have already taken a look this year.

Research shows that many young New Zealanders use cannabis and drive and don't think it is dangerous to do so.

The New Zealand Drug Foundation was funded by the Road Safety Trust to develop a multi-year education campaign on drug driving. Visits to other towns and cities are planned, with potential hosts invited to contact the Drug Foundation for more details.

Steer Clear website: www.steerclear.org.nz 

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