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Drug-Impaired Driving

For young drivers, driving after using cannabis is more common than driving after drinking alcohol. Some youth even believe that using cannabis makes them better drivers.  Evidence clearly shows the THC in cannabis affects coordination, reaction time, ability to pay attention, decision-making abilities and ability to judge distances. These misperceptions can result in driving decisions that put the health and safety of young drivers at risk.

Driving under the influence of cannabis may double the risk of being involved in a crash.  This risk increases even more when cannabis is mixed with alcohol.  When cannabis is combined with alcohol the results can be unpredictable and the effects of either drug may be more powerful, resulting in greater impairment than had either of the drugs been used alone.

It is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Currently, police officers trained and certified as Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs) can detect drug impaired drivers. DREs evaluate a driver’s behaviour for impairment and can request a blood, urine or oral fluid sample for testing.  But the laws around alcohol and drug-impaired driving are being strengthened.  The proposed legislation would authorize new tools for police to better detect drivers who have drugs in their body.

Conviction of driving while impaired by cannabis carries the same criminal offence and charges as alcohol-impaired driving.

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