Drunk driving and narratives about the importance of abstaining have been around for as long as there have been cars. It is dangerous, reckless, and selfish to drive while intoxicated, and with the new laws surrounding legal marijuana, the conversation is shifting towards driving while high. Though studies have shown that driving stoned is much safer than driving while drunk, there are risks that cannot be ruled out. It impairs key driving skills such as your reaction time, and therefore needs to be considered as something that one should always avoid doing.
In Denver, one of the nation’s trailblazing cities when it comes to recreational pot, a $35,000 massive billboard funded by the federal government was put into place in a high traffic area. The billboard resembles a joint, but it is in the same shape as a vehicle mangled by an accident. This 28-foot tall, glow in the dark billboard hopes to get across the point that driving while high, while still significantly less dangerous than driving while drunk, can still be hazardous. They drive this point home with the tagline, "Hits lead to hits. Don't drive high."
Located on the side of the Courtyard Marriott in downtown, at the intersection of Curtis Street and the 16th Street Mall, authorities are hoping the high traffic area that is near several dispensaries will make the billboard an effective one. It is also centered near many hotels so that tourists who may not know the laws of Colorado can be sure that driving while high is a big no-no. In a survey done by the CDOT, 55% of cannabis users admitted to smoking and driving in the last 30 days. According to the Colorado State Patrol, one out of every five DUI’s in Colorado involves the use of cannabis. This three-dimensional, eye-catching sign was designed to keep it off the road by making legal marijuana users aware. For more information, check out this Colorado case study.
Since it is right in the heart of Denver and will be passed often by people on their way to the dispensaries, it is believed that this billboard will be much more effective than an everyday TV ad that one might simply gloss over. This billboard will be in place through the end the tourist season in September so that everyone, locals and tourists alike, can get a good eyeful. Most cannabis users are under the impression that there are absolutely no risks to driving while high; officials hope the image of the wrecked vehicle will instill in their minds that accidents are a very real possibility when driving under the influence of any substance known to hamper driving ability.
It cannot hurt, but only help to have this billboard highly visible. Everyone who smokes marijuana or uses a vaporizer needs to be aware of the risks involved when operating a motor vehicle. When people get comfortable and lazy with any habit, accidents happen. Many believe this sign will remind marijuana users to enjoy the legal, recreational herb responsibly, and to stop and think before they get into the driver’s seat. After all, no one wants to harm themselves or others by driving while high.