Research Papers

Changing mindsets around pot impaired driving

Version 1
Date added July 28, 2015
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Category 2015 CARSP XXV Ottawa
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 2A
Author/Auteur Anne Leonard, Lisa Thompson
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice

Slidedeck Presentation not available (no paper submitted)



  • Drug impaired driving is emerging from an undetected killer to a leading cause of death on Ontario’s roads. 2011 Ontario collision data confirms:
    one in five drivers killed had drugs in their system.
  • 61 people died on Ontario roads from drug driving collisions.

A 2013 road safety survey conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation found that 50% of Ontarians perceive drug impaired driving to be on the increase.

Many young people believe cannabis doesn’t impair driving abilities and can actually improve their focus while driving. Many youth identified impaired driving as being highly risky, yet they believe it is a risk they can control. These and other misperceptions, as evidenced by research, provided clear direction for the development of the “Eggs on Weed” integrated social marketing campaign.



Developing this integrated social marketing campaign involved researching drug impaired driving and determining the most affected demographics. Very quickly, it was determined that the focus needed to be youth. Further primary research indicated that it needed to be specifically 16-17 year olds, both males and females, as they indicated the greatest opportunity to change behaviour.
Talking to youth further determined the best tone and messaging. This information was then used in developing the creative concepts and products.

Not unlike the use of seatbelts or the reduction in drinking and driving, it will take a long period of sustained efforts to get the same kind of impact on behaviour for drug impaired driving.
The “Eggs on Weed” campaign has been launched across social media platforms to create a greater awareness among the target demographic and start a movement in the right direction.
This is just the first step in changing drug driving behaviour. Like drinking and driving, it takes a generation of marketing until a behaviour is considered unacceptable.



Youth – 14- 17 in particular


Resources are being made available in school and on line to be used to engage youth in learning about the harmful affects of cannabis on their driving ability. The campaign is not anti drug; it is focused solely on the reasons to not drive high and also speaks to passengers about the risk they are at when in a vehicle with a high driver.

All schools in Ontario were invited to participate in using the eggs insights and resources at their schools and a “reboot” campaign is underway to maximize the reach and impact of the campaign.



The on-line reach is being monitored and tweaked to make it most effective and the in-school project has already reach about 30 schools and we expect another 50 to connect with the renewal efforts. The campaign launched at the OSAID conference in May 2014 and is continuing.

Anne Leonard, Lisa Thompson