Don’t Smoke and Drive, Kids

Public Service Announcements are frequently made to bring awareness to the dangers of driving under the influence. With the introduction of legalized marijuana, it is no wonder that these ads are now incorporating a whole new type of “driving under the influence.”

Here’s a few of the ads released by the Colorado Department of Transportation:

Here’s some more:

First, I think it is great that the Colorado Department of Transportation developed these advertisements. Obviously, there are dangers associated with the legalization of a drug, and many constituents place responsibility on the state of Colorado to ensure that these are addressed. Therefore, I find the PSAs both necessary and expected.

The advertisements poke fun at the stereotypical pot-head, alluding to the mindlessness that is often associated with the use of marijuana. Essentially, the advertisements display incompetent high people attempting to complete basic tasks, such as hanging up a TV, shooting a free throw, or lighting a grill- all of which fail miserably. The underlying message is that if you can’t do these basic tasks while you’re high, you most definitely can’t operate a motor vehicle. While many see this as offensive, I personally view it as both humorous and strategic.

Obviously, the Colorado Department of Transportation is aiming these ads at marijuana users, and doing so in a comical way. Humor is often one of the best ways to communicate a message; and although DUIs are a serious topic, adding comedic high people to lighten the message may help its effectiveness, particularly regarding the target audience of the Public Service Announcements.

If these advertisements had more serious undertones, I think it would place pressure upon both legislators and legalization advocates, allowing the opposition to ask- if this drug was so dangerous, why did we legalize it in the first place?

It is also important to note:

As polices change and new markets open up, the advertising industry sees new opportunities for growth. The legalization of marijuana not only opened up the need for public service announcements, but it will also open other doors as well. Eventually, shops may advertise their products, specials, locations, etc. as well. The advertising industry is constantly changing to technology, the economy, and social trends. The legalization of marijuana and the resulting advertising opportunities is a prime example of this.


–          Stamper, L. (8, March 2014). The Colorado State Government Made These Ads About Smoking and Driving – and They’re Funny Even if You’re Not High. Time. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from

6 thoughts on “Don’t Smoke and Drive, Kids

  1. I think the addition of this kind of problem adds a lot more disparity to what cops can call you on. On my way to Texas for spring break we were pulled over for speeding and the officer accused us of smoking and transporting pot even though there was nothing in the car and none of us smoked. It was really strange and we weren’t sure how to react to it, and I feel like that could get worse as the legalization process goes on.


  2. I think that this is a great ad for the Department of Transportation to make public. After all of the hype about the legalization of pot in CO, I think it’s easy to forget that driving while under the influence of anything can be dangerous. This ad has the perfect amount of humor and severity to draw attention.


  3. I wasn’t even aware that there were PSAs out addressing this issue, but I’m glad to see that there are. I also thought that their approach was very strategic, the people that are driving and smoking ae much more receptive to a humorous approach as opposed to a scare tactic.


  4. There is definitely a fine line that is being drawn with marijuana being newly legalized and law enforcement. It’s great they are already addressing the issue because I can see this becoming a hot topic in the very near future, especially in other states that may follow Colorado’s footsteps someday.


  5. I think these ads are hilarious and great, if a little exaggerated. Most DUI PSAs with alcohol are far too dramatic and serious for people to pay much attention too so using humor was a good call. I also think that this is the start of a whole new aspect of advertising. Cigaret and alcohol companies bring in big money for advertising companies and as more states begin to legalize weed I’m sure the advertising companies will quickly start to capitalize on it.


  6. I’m glad they made this. Everyone knows that drinking and driving is bad, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t believe that smoking and driving is dangerous. It’s never made sense to me because in both situations the driver is mentally altered. I hope this leads to more information about smoking and driving being shared with the public.


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