Grieving dad's heartbreaking plea after losing son to drug-driving

A third of all drug users admit to drug-driving. It's a horrifying statistic that NZTA is hoping to put an end to with a new campaign they're launching on Sunday.

It features families affected by New Zealand's growing problem and it could feature yours as well.

In 2017, 24-year-old Ethan Crone was killed in a car accident.

"I saw two policemen walk up the drive and I just said 'what's happened to Ethan'," his father Ron Crone says. "You just know."

But Ron knows it wasn't the fog or the right-angle corner that cost him his son. The biggest factor in Ethan's crash was cannabis.

Ethan was one of 79 people killed on our roads due to drug-driving - more lives lost than through drink-driving.

"Ethan was lying in the foetal position in the cold grass for two hours before he got found by a lady walking a dog," Ron says. "The only thankful thing we can be about this accident is that he didn't kill anyone else."

Two years on, and the pain is still extremely raw. But he's sharing his experience for a new ad campaign to stop other families losing a loved one.

"If we look at attitudes to drug-driving today they're very like the attitude to drink-driving 30-40 years ago where there's a mix of apathy or denial and we need to change that," says NZTA spokesperson Andy Knackstedt.

Part of that change means NZTA is changing their approach, from using humour as they have in the past, to focussing on the very serious consequences of drug-driving.

"It's not a spilt milkshake, people die painfully from it," Ron says.

The NZTA campaign will feature a new true story every day.

"It could be your kids, it could be your kids," Ron says.