“You can laugh all you want, but once you get behind the wheel, it’s no laughing matter,” Marco Harrison, Director of the CAA-Quebec Foundation, says emphatically about cannabis-impaired driving. And, he explains, the organization plans to repeat that message often in the months to come.
With recreational cannabis about to be legalized in just a few months’ time, the Foundation Is intent on preventing any deterioration of traffic safety statistics. To that end, there must be clear messages to properly dispel persistent myths, such as the idea that driving while high isn’t dangerous. Studies have shown that marijuana alters co-ordination, reaction times, concentration, decision-making ability, and ability to judge distances.
The Foundation will be tackling this serious issue with humour over the coming months, among other things by using “pot goggles” to simulate the effects of cannabis. The experience is funny at first, but helps the wearer understand how the drug adversely affects driving ability. The Foundation will be using the goggles during its tour of secondary schools, starting next month. They will also be on show at the Quebec City International Auto Show.
A comical awareness campaign on social media has also been launched, targeting young drivers especially. It features real messages sent out on social media by people who got behind the wheel after getting high, e.g.: “I used my phone as a light to look for my phone for 20 minutes.”
The conclusion is always the same: “Driving High Is Driving Impaired.”