Impaired Driving - Marijuana
Cannabis Impairs Driving
Marijuana negatively affects driving skills. Marijuana has been largely ignored by those using it and others as a risk when driving. It has been viewed by some as a harmless substance that has been around for years with few side effects and that it is a “natural substance”. In fact, in addition to its negative health effects – which are significant – marijuana interferes with many of the tasks required to drive safely including:
- time perception,
- motor coordination,
- ability to respond quickly and
- ability to multi-task.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in Canada, and its use behind the wheel is becoming more frequent. Last year a survey showed about one in six drivers in Grades 10 to 12 (17%) in Ontario reported driving a vehicle within one hour of using cannabis. These are often the same students who report that they would never drive after drinking alcohol!
A common misconception is that there is less chance of being caught while driving impaired by marijuana. In actual fact a roadside sobriety test assesses for impairment by anything; if alcohol is not detected, then the driver will be subjected to further testing for the presence of drugs.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is impaired driving and an offence under the Criminal Code...resulting in collisions, injuries and deaths. An examination of fatally-injured drivers in Canada between 2000 and 2006 revealed that almost 15 per cent of those tested were positive for marijuana. These are deaths that could have been prevented.
“The fact that young cannabis users may not perceive their driving ability to be adversely affected - and/or perceive it to be less affected than after consuming alcohol – provides a false sense of security.”
Driving under the influence of marijuana is impaired driving!
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 04 December 2012.