A new road safety campaign in France raises the question lots of us may never have even asked ourselves, let alone know the answer to.
There’s a haunting beauty in the black and white shots of weeping mourners gathered at a fresh grave, with smoke curling about them like empathetic mist. It could almost be a spoof of a thriller, a good yarn unfolding…
The narrator sounds young and alive as he explains that his father, his friend and others in the group are crying because of his mistake – the mistake of thinking that smoking a joint and driving wasn’t dangerous.
Recent studies show that while cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are declining in the USA and Europe, cannabis use is on the rise. And though we’re all used to sobering drink/drive ads, tobacco commercials have been banned, and there are now campaigns to illustrate the dangers of using a mobile ‘phone while driving, the implications of smoking a spliff before getting behind the wheel haven’t really been highlighted.
As with alcohol, the drug is metabolised at different rates in different people but specialised organisations in the UK agree that a person who’s used cannabis will be over the legal limit for the following 10 hours.
France has among the most restrictive laws on cannabis, and this ad weighs in with a sombre voiceover at the end reminding us that it’s illegal.
But those wisps of smoke threading their way among the trees from the funeral scene to the car crash, and a young man’s voice telling us from beyond the grave that he made a mistake are more likely to stay in our minds and stir the right kind of fear, don’t you think?
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