BOSTON (SHNS) – Television ads featuring people sharing their perceptions about driving after consuming cannabis, alcohol, or other drugs are rolling out as part of a public service campaign targeting men aged 18 to 34.
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said the target demographic is the most likely to be behind the wheel in impaired driving crashes and an ad campaign titled “Wisdom” running through August looks to squash the idea that impaired driving is ever safe.
“The height of the summer travel season is an opportunity for us to remind motorists about the dangers of impaired driving,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “Research and data show that many people do not understand or believe the link between using marijuana and impaired driving, so this campaign is designed specifically to address these myths.”
The campaign draws from focus group interviews that the state said found that “many [adults] did not recognize that cannabis can impair driving safety,” and that the “law was not considered a deterrent to driving after using marijuana.”
The discussions were edited into 30-second PSAs that will air through the month.
After alcohol, marijuana was the most prevalent drug found in the systems of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Massachusetts between 2013 and 2017, according to the governor’s office.
Last year, a Department of Public Health study found that nearly 35 percent of adults who reported using marijuana in the previous 30 days also reported driving under the influence of marijuana.
Baker filed a bill (H 71) in January touching upon detection of impaired drivers, the interaction between police officers and drivers who are thought to be impaired, and how cases involving suspected impaired drivers are handled in the state’s courts. The bill has been pending before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary since January.
According to the Executive Office of Public Safety, its biannual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization” begins Wednesday and runs through Labor Day. Zero tolerance patrols targeting impaired drivers will be conducted by 141 local police departments.