For young drivers, driving after using marijuana is more common than driving after drinking alcohol. Some youth even believe that using marijuana makes them better drivers, but evidence clearly shows that drivers who use marijuana are less able to pay attention to more than one thing at a time, and they have slower reaction times. These misperceptions can result in driving decisions that put the health and safety of young drivers at risk.
Driving under the influence of marijuana may double the risk of being involved in a crash. This risk increases even more when marijuana is mixed with alcohol. When marijuana 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. 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.
Conviction of driving while impaired by marijuana carries the same criminal offence and charges as alcohol-impaired driving.
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