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Driving High On Marijuana — Too Many Canadians Drive High

Cannabis users often believe it is safe to driver while under the influence. On the other hand, police officers, road safety specialists, or medical specialists opine that using marijuana puts you at increase risk of getting into an accident. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, about 15% of users have driven at least once within two hours of smoking marijuana within the previous two months. It’s not uncommon for cannabis users to feel like smoking helps them concentrate or relax at the wheel. Interestingly, these same people generally swear they would never drive drunk.

The truth is, that there is a growing number of studies which conclude that using marijuana substantially elevates your risk of causing an accident. International studies have ranged in their data, and studies have determined that a stoned driver may be twice as likely to be responsible for a fatal accident than a driver that is sober. Studies have suggested that drugged drivers can have slower reaction time and tend to swerve or tailgate more often creating a greater risk for collision.

Public Safety Canada recently dumped over $80 million into a training program designed to catch motorists driving while high. One can expect the courts will be bombarded in various fashions with the new drug testing devices. In December 2018, when drugged up driving laws are enforced, Police may have the freedom to use saliva tests. There remains much scrutiny as to whether this will be effective or have been officially validated in any fashion.

The rising prevalence of marijuana use and the ever increasing availability, including lowered prices, will inevitably lead to more motor vehicle accidents. The drug itself has become more potent than ever, and more youth are smoking than ever before. Not surprisingly, the youth also account for a disproportionate number of accidents.

Perception of time and speed, as well as attentiveness and use of acquired knowledge are all influenced by smoking marijuana, and studies say that marijuana causes impairment in every aspect of performance as it pertains to safe driving. These include motor coordination, visual functionality, and particularly multitasking which is an essential element to driving.

People who smoke marijuana have different qualities of course, and therefore smoking will affect people differently. For instance, it may be that a young person, male, who is receptive to risk taking behaviours, may be significantly more at risk of causing collision if high.

People who smoke marijuana should have a designated driver to keep the roads as safe as possible. With society’s everchanging laws, comes trial and tribulations regarding road safety, and it is every individual’s duty to keep the roads as safe as possible for their own sake and others.