Orangeville, ON (James Doan) On October 17, 2018, the much-touted legislation surrounding marijuana legalization in Canada came into effect.

It is illegal to drive drug-impaired and it’s just as dangerous as driving drunk. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision. If police determine that you are driving while impaired, you will face penalties immediately. You will also face additional consequences later if you are convicted in court. The penalties you face can vary depending on your age, licence type, the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, and how many times you have been convicted.

Drugs can impair your ability to drive safely and increase the risk of getting into a collision. In fact, cannabis increases your chance of a car accident (Footnote 1). The percentage of Canadian drivers killed in vehicle crashes who test positive for drugs (40%) now actually exceeds the numbers who test positive for alcohol (33%) (Footnote 2).

There is no good excuse for driving while impaired, and being a passenger with an impaired driver is also risky. You have options:

  • Make sure you have a designated driver.
  • Call a friend or loved one to pick you up.
  • Take public transit.
  • Call a cab or a ridesharing service.
  • Stay over.

 

1. Marijuana Use Among Drivers in Canada, 2000-2014. Traffic Injury Research Foundation, December 2017. http://tirf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Marijuana-Use-Among-Drivers-in-Canada-2000-2014-8.pdf

2. Drug-Impaired Driving, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. http://www.ccdus.ca/Eng/topics/Impaired-Driving/Drug-Impaired-Driving/Pages/default.aspx