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Date published: 14th February 2014 | Type: Media release

A new campaign which shows young New Zealanders that cannabis can impair driving, and which supports young people to find alternatives to driving stoned, is being launched at Splore today.

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

Steer Clear is about increasing 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 Wood said

“Our research shows that many young New Zealanders use cannabis and drive and don’t think it is dangerous to do so.

“They also feel that there is not much information about the risks of cannabis and driving, especially compared to alcohol and driving.

Steer Clear provides an interactive and social learning experience about the risks of cannabis-impaired driving in real life and online. A driving simulator van has been built to show how cannabis can affect driving ability.

“The Steer Clear van will get young people to think about the effect cannabis can have on their ability to drive, in a fun, non-judgemental way,” Mr Wood said.

“After people take a ride in the van they hop out into a lounge area where they can share a video of their ride and talk to our friendly team about the pitfalls of driving on pot and ways to prevent it.

“The simulator is also online at steerclear.co.nz along with information about cannabis impaired driving, tips on how to avoid getting behind the wheel stoned, and advice for people who want to challenge their friends if they’re about to drive while high.”

The simulator van will be open for the duration of Splore and will also be at Pasifika Festival March 8-9.

Access Steer Clear online at steerclear.co.nz

Facts about cannabis and driving

  • A 2010 report indicates that between 23 and 35 percent of 1,046 deceased drivers had cannabis in their system.
  • People who use cannabis are 2.3 times more likely to fatally crash; people who use alcohol are 9.4 times more likely to fatally crash; people who combine cannabis and alcohol are 14.1 times more likely to fatally crash. 
  • There is a wide range of research reporting increased risk of crash when driving with active Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in your system (i.e. during or soon after you are actively ‘high’ from ingesting cannabis). Risk increases because reaction time decreases, peripheral vision is compromised, decision making skills are compromised and ability to multi-task is reduced.
  • The high from smoking cannabis normally takes effect within minutes and can affect a person for about two to four hours. If cannabis is eaten (cake, milkshake, etc) onset of effect will take about 20-30 minutes. The actual time cannabis affects a person for will depend on how much they have taken, their health, their state of mind, if they have eaten well that day.
  • If you cause injury or death when driving carelessly while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be disqualified and either fined up to $10,000 or sentenced to prison. Where a breath or blood test shows you were over the legal limit for alcohol or shows evidence of the use of a controlled drug, you will be disqualified and either fined up to $20,000 or imprisoned for up to five years.
  • The available data shows cannabis is the most commonly detected drug, after alcohol, in blood samples of injured and killed drivers. 
  • Intensive drug users are more likely than moderate users to drive under the influence.
  • In research undertaken by the NZ Drug Foundation, over 65 percent of people who used cannabis reported driving while under the influence. Driving under the influence of cannabis was reported to be higher than alcohol (24.5 percent) although drug users were likely to be over represented in the sample.
  • Perception of the risk of drug driving is low among people who use cannabis. Much lower than the perception of risk of driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • People aged 16–24 account for 56.2 percent of people who use cannabis users in New Zealand

Media wishing to attend must contact Jackson Wood before 11 AM on Thursday 13/02/2014 and provide the following information

Name:
Media outlet:
Day attending & if possible, likely arrival time:

Images of the van and set up will be available on Thursday afternoon, please let Jackson know if you would like these.

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