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BCAA calls for a focus on road safety as cannabis legalization approaches and believes millennials can play a key role in prevention

Burnaby, B.C., July 17, 2018 – With legalized cannabis coming October 17, BCAA today launches a new awareness campaign around impaired driving, after a national CAA study showed that 20% of 18-34 year old Canadian drivers think they drive the same or even better when high.

BCAA takes road safety seriously, and for Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement, the facts are troublesome. While this paints a grim picture, a new BCAA survey shows another side to the story, with the majority of millennials thinking and acting responsibly around impaired driving. BCAA believes millennials have the potential to lead all generations in high-driving prevention.

The new BCAA survey conducted by Innovative Research with 18-34 year old BC drivers reveals:

  • 91% make plans for a safe ride home before a night out
  • 88% would never consider driving impaired
  • 78% saying they would “call out” friends considering driving impaired
  • 72% have been designated drivers over the last three years, with 55% doing it regularly

“Millennials have a special place in history,” says Pettipas. “This generation grew up surrounded by impaired driving messages on TV, radio and in school. They’re the first generation who got behind the wheel appreciating the risks, and who made impaired driving socially unacceptable. What we want is for people to understand that high driving is also impaired driving, and for all millennials to add that into their set of values.”

And most millennials have already adopted cannabis into their definition of impaired driving. In a second survey conducted by Innovative Research for BCAA, 82% of 18-34 year olds consider driving on cannabis as impaired and 74% think high driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. When it comes to mixing the two, 90% view it as “definitely impaired”.

Pettipas sees a unique opportunity for millennials to take a leadership role to prevent their peers and other generations from driving high; and to make high driving socially unacceptable, the same way they did with drunk driving. In fact, the BCAA survey shows that some millennials already see that leadership potential, with 49% considering themselves the “sober driving generation” and 40% agreeing that they are “role models for not driving impaired.”

BCAA is exploring this theme in its new public awareness campaign that uses role reversal to show millennials who understand that high driving is impaired driving help their parents get home safely after getting high. The campaign is running on TV, online, through social media channels and in movie theatres in the months leading up to legalization.

“We’re entering a new era in road safety and can learn from the past to ensure we’re all safe once cannabis is made legal,” says Shom Sen, BCAA’s president & CEO. “BCAA wants to keep British Columbians informed about the effects of cannabis on driving and help the province navigate safely through this turning point in Canadian history.”

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Survey methodology

Innovative Research Group conducted two online surveys for BCAA on the behaviour of BC drivers related to driving impaired. The first survey referenced in this release was of 506 British Columbian drivers aged 18-34 and was conducted from June 15 – 21, 2018. The second survey referenced in the release was of 1,045 adult British Columbian drivers as was conducted from March 7th to March 18th, 2018. The statistics cited were results from the 18-34 year old respondents.

About BCAA

The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, car and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full automotive services at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Community Child Car Seat Program and BCAA Play Here. Please visit bcaa.com.


For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio
BCAA Communication Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859
niela.melanio@bcaa.com