Radical new drug drive campaign
launched in Essex

19.12.2019

A radical campaign targeting young drug drivers has been launched in Essex after months of research and planning, which even saw the team behind it spend time in a rehabilitation centre interviewing addicts.

The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) teamed up with Essex Police to launch the new campaign, ‘Drug driving – is the high worth the low?’ warning offenders they are more likely to be caught than ever before.

The campaign, which includes a one-minute film, was developed after figures showed there had been a huge rise in drug driving arrests this year in Essex. In the first 10 months of the year, 1,491 arrests were made, compared with 1,039 in 2018 and 754 in 2017.

Statistics also showed that 8% of all road casualties in the last five years in Essex occurred in a collision involving a drink and/or drug impaired driver.

The film uses humour to highlight that even if a driver does not look or feel stoned, they could still have drugs in their system which will show up during a roadside test.

The team carried out their own in-house qualitative and quantitative research to ensure that the campaign was pitched just right at the target group, young men aged between 17 and 29.

Caroline Churchouse, Communications Manager at SERP, visited a drug rehab centre in the county and spoke to 15 patients about the campaign material to check that the messages were understood.

She also worked closely with Will Cubbin, the partnership data manager, who carried out the quantitative analysis which provided critical demographical information as well as how best to communicate with those likely to drug drive.

Caroline said: “This group are not receptive to instructional communications from an authoritative organisation. So we knew we didn’t want to tell people what to do. It was also clear that most people likely to drug drive wouldn’t follow us on social media or read the local papers.

“We had to consider an approach that could be shared by influencers and would be something with a ‘viral effect’ i.e. something people wanted to share and tag their mates in.

“It was a risky approach as humour is very subjective, but so far we’re achieving more engagement with the content than ever before.”

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