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One-third of Recent Cannabis Users reported Driving While High

June 28, 2022 from DATAC

A survey conducted in January 2022 by EKOS for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada found that 33% of Canadians who report having used cannabis in the previous year also reported having engaged in cannabis-impaired driving. 26% of Canadians who reported using cannabis at some point in their lives also reported driving after consuming it.

Of the participants who reported cannabis-impaired driving were asked to explain their behavior, about 10% of respondents said they “didn’t know better at the time” or weren’t educated about the risks. 39% of the participants also said they didn’t feel impaired while 23% stated they thought they could drive safely. Almost 30% of respondents said they traveled in a vehicle even when they knew the driver was under the influence of cannabis.

A spokesperson for Public Safety Canada highlight the results of a survey that suggested increased awareness of the effect of cannabis on drivers. This comes from a statement issued to CBC news where 86% of respondents (including people who don’t use cannabis) agreed that cannabis impairs driving ability. This figure has increased from 80% in 2017.

Dumschat pointed out that efforts to raise awareness on cannabis-impaired driving can only go so far. Deterrence is also important as Dumschat stated that governments must continue to train police officers in using standardized field sobriety tests.

According to Dumschat, police must employ “drug recognition evaluation and… oral fluid screening technology.”. He added that people really need to understand that if they are driving under the influence of a drug, police have the capability to detect this and catch them. However, Dumschat did say that in his opinion, cannabis-impaired driving is not as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.