President's Perspective: Driving High Will Leave you Low

From Issue: 
January 2017

The Canadian governments’ recently appointed task force has just filed its report on the deliberations it has held over the past several months.  It’s not exactly a secret that this has been an area of interest for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government, but we are now beginning to see less speculation and more concrete actions being taken toward eventual legalization.

It seems like an inevitability that marijuana will enter the marketplace legally sooner than later, which makes it that much more crucial to remind Canadians of the dangers of driving while high.

Marijuana’s effects on a driver are different than alcohol. A driver who is high is more likely to drive slowly and leave a lot of following distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. They’re also more likely to have slower reaction times, altered time perception and a foggier thought process.

Although recreational use of the drug may become legal sooner than later, it is still illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence. The state of Washington  legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012, and the ensuing years saw a significant rise in drivers who had recently consumed it. This number shot up to one in six drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014, according to a study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The problems with drugged driving are amplified when paired with the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Even if you haven’t had enough alcohol to blow over the legal limit into a breathalyzer, your body’s reaction to the combination of drinks and weed will make it so that your faculties are just as affected as if you had had more to drink.

Police services are currently experimenting with methods of testing for drug use roadside, including saliva samples and training police officers to better be able to identify an impaired person. Law enforcement officials will have ways to adequately assess your impairment level so don’t take any risks.

If you’ve ingested marijuana, don’t drive. It’s selfish at best and life threatening to yourself and other motorists at worst.

Safety, it’s an attitude!