Driving under Influence: Cannabis

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 28 July 2022.

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Photo of Lord Farmer Lord Farmer Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to publicise the illegality of driving under the influence of cannabis; and what evidence is available of the effectiveness of this messaging.

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

THINK! is the government’s flagship road safety campaign, playing a vital role in tackling the attitudes and behaviours that lead to road casualties.

A £1M drug drive campaign ran in February 2015 to support the introduction of new legislation and raise awareness of the new laws amongst drivers. The campaign ran again in 2016, with a £1.3M investment, including a reminder to drivers on the presence of roadside testing. Some additional social media communications, focused on festival goers, ran in the summer of 2017.

- The 2016 campaign achieved good levels of recognition (73% awareness), driven by the “Paranoia” film, and overall recognition was higher than in 2015

- The “Paranoia” film communicated a general anti-drug drive message, while the online and print elements complemented this by showing the roadside swab which acted as a deterrent and improved credibility

- Knowledge of drug driving penalties increased over the campaign period, and these practical aspects were deemed more concerning than the emotional repercussions of being caught and convicted of drug driving

- As drug driving is perceived as a niche behaviour (with less of the audience knowing someone who drug drives when compared with other road safety behaviours), the campaign continued to lack relevance among some young male drivers

There are a number of issues and behaviours that warrant communications investment and spend is prioritised according to the following key principles:

- The scale of the issue

- Ability of communications to influence behaviour

- Public priorities

- Value for money

- Policy priorities and changes in supporting legislation

- Wider trends, for example the impact of the pandemic

THINK! communications for the next three -year period are currently being planned and will include a review on the status of drug driving within that planning and prioritisation process.

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