Snapchat video clips directed by acclaimed film-maker Taika Waititi are being used in a drug-driving campaign targeting stoned drivers.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has developed the campaign, using picture-messaging service Snapchat.

The campaign worked by setting-up a Snapchat account called Tinnyvision - an account fronted by a likeable group of young drivers, said NZTA spokesman Andy Knackstedt.

The agency worked with local website owners to generate interest in funny "stoner snaps" to spread the word.


Thousands had already "friended" Tinnyvision on Snapchat, which over the course of the day would send a series of video clips, or snaps, to the user.

The clips were directed by Waititi, who created the movies Boy, Eagle vs Shark, and What We Do in the Shadows.

The snaps featured scenarios of actors getting stoned, so the viewer could observe their changing behaviour and slower reactions, Mr Knackstedt said.

"After ten snaps the boys head out in the car for some food - the driver reacts too slowly and hits a girl at a pedestrian crossing.

"At this point the audience doesn't know what they've just seen, but it looks real and they can't watch it again, because that's the nature of Snapchat.

"A few minutes later they get the final snap with the simple written message 'Stoned drivers are slower to react'."

Drug driving was a serious and growing problem with young drivers in New Zealand and around the world, Mr Knackstedt said.

"Our research tells us that many of these drivers actually think they're safer when driving stoned, because they slow down.


"But that's the problem, they may be driving slower, but their reaction times are also a lot slower, and that's what leads to crashes."

Unlike drink driving, safe limits could not be established and it was difficult to enforce, Mr Knackstedt said.

"Because cannabis is also an illegal drug, it is unregulated. All of these issues make it difficult to target people who use cannabis and drive."

The campaign had achieved its initial goal of reaching 7500 people, with 95 per cent of those staying tuned for the full series of snaps, receiving the road safety message at the end, Mr Knackstedt said.

Facts about drug driving:
• New Zealanders were among the highest marijuana users in the world according to the 2012 United Nations World Drug Report.
• One quarter of all drivers and motorcyclists killed in road crashes were found to have cannabis present in their system, according to figures from a study conducted over 2004-2009 of the blood of deceased drivers.
• One in seven adults aged 16 to 64 had used cannabis in the past 12 months, which equated to 38,5000 cannabis users per year according to the latest Drug Use in New Zealand Survey.