Cannabis and driving an issue with young drivers

One quarter of younger Canadians (aged 18-34) say they have driven high or have travelled in a vehicle with a high driver, according to new research from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), pointing to the need for more public education.

The same poll found that while many younger Canadians (86 per cent) understand the importance of planning alternative travel arrangements after consuming alcohol, like a ride-sharing service, taxi or designated driver, they view it as significantly less important to do so after consuming cannabis (70 per cent).

Fully 26 per cent of younger Canadians said they have driven after consuming cannabis or been in an automobile driven by someone who had recently consumed cannabis.

“The study’s findings regarding attitudes and perceptions tells us there is a need for more education,”, says Jeff Walker, CAA chief strategy officer.

While some young Canadians are more likely to think their driving is unaffected by cannabis, scientific studies show that’s not true.

“Cannabis may impair your driving differently than alcohol, but the effect is the same – decreased reaction times that can lead to collisions and even fatalities,” says Walker.

CAA is committed to doing its part by running regular public education campaigns, funding studies on the effect of cannabis on driving, and working with the government to ensure law enforcement is prepared to deal with cannabis-impaired driving.

The latest CAA findings are based on a poll of over 1,517 Canadians carried out from November 27 to December 4, 2019. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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