Cannabis Impaired Driving

Young Canadians face heightened crash risk after consuming cannabis, new study finds

Cannabis plant
October 17, 2018

October 17th saw a monumental change in Canada. Cannabis is now considered a legal recreational substance.

Whether you feel that legalization was a long time coming, or you have your doubts about it, there are some things you should be aware of now that it is legal!

A common misconception is that marijuana does not impair your ability to drive. CAA’s polling has revealed that 20% of Canadians aged 18-24 believe they are as good or a better driver while stoned. This is false!

CAA funded a study that examined the affects inhaling cannabis had on young drivers. Under controlled, clinical conditions, the trial tested driving-related performances of 18-to-24 year olds in a computerized task and driving stimulator. The study found that young Canadians are more at risk of a vehicle crash for at least five hours after inhaling cannabis. Additionally, a large percentage of participants reported that they did not feel safe to drive in a cannabis state, even after five hours.

Many people argue that unlike alcohol, cannabis heightens your awareness on the road. In reality, cannabis can delay your reaction time and decreases your ability to concentrate on driving tasks such as left-hand-turns and lane-changes. While subjects in the trial showed no effects when there were zero distractions, as soon as conditions became more realistic of a typical driving scenario, performance significantly declined.

It is very rare that our trips in a car are uneventful, and even the slightest distraction can become amplified under the influence of cannabis.

Cannabis should be treated in the same respects as alcohol. If you plan to indulge, find a safe way home or stay where you are. Please use responsibly and don’t drive high!

To better educate yourself about the dangers of driving while impaired by cannabis, please visit our website. Let’s all work together to ensure our roads continue to be a safe place for everyone.