First SGI used real Saskatchewan people in its impaired driving ads, now it’s taking the message one step further.
The insurance company bought a new virtual reality simulator — the first of its kind in Saskatchewan, and the second across Canada — to take people through the potential outcome of driving high, or hopping in a vehicle with someone who’s impaired.
“This is something that’s really timely, given the fact that cannabis is about to become legal in Canada and it’s something that we all need to keep in mind,” said Tyler McMurchy, SGI’s manager of media relations.
“No matter what impairs you, if you’re getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and you’re impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, legal drugs, prescription drugs — it doesn’t matter. Impaired is impaired.”
McMurchy added SGI has virtual reality scenarios for distracted driving and speeding, too.
Since impaired driving is SGI’s Traffic Safety Spotlight for May, the insurance company is focusing on that storyline.
The drug-impaired driving scenario takes the user to a house party, then into the passenger seat with a driver who’s high and eventually to the emergency room following a crash.
— SGI (@SGItweets) April 30, 2018
With graduation season on the horizon, SGI’s traffic safety promotion team has been taking the VR simulator to schools to let students test it out.
Jackie Bosch is part of the promotion team that took it to F.W. Johnson Collegiate last week. She said, for a lot of teens, it really reinforced SGI’s message to drive sober.
“It definitely hit home for them,” she said. “The VR system offers the chance to experience the consequences (of driving impaired), but gives them the second chance that you wouldn’t get. They get to see those consequences, but don’t actually have to live with the results.”
On top of fines, jail time and court-imposed driving restrictions, anyone caught driving impaired in Saskatchewan can face licence suspensions, vehicle seizures and a mandatory ignition interlock.
In 2016, 57 people died and 464 were injured due to impaired driving collisions in Saskatchewan.