The side effects of cannabis can be extremely dangerous when behind the wheel, which is why CAA Niagara wants to remind those ingesting edibles to do anything but drive.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary active ingredient in cannabis and the component responsible for giving you a high, can significantly affect a motorist’s coordination, reaction time, judgement and decision-making skills regardless of how the cannabis is consumed. However, in the case of edibles, these effects can be significantly delayed, making it almost impossible to determine when an individual will be impaired. CAA Niagara’s message is simple: if you consume, do not get behind the wheel.
A 2019 study conducted by Dig Insights found that 1.2 million Ontarians admit to having driven after consuming cannabis and 27% of those respondents admit to feeling very or somewhat high while driving. Even more shocking, 23% of cannabis users believe that cannabis has no negative impact on, or even improves, their ability to drive.
“The casual attitude towards driving while high is staggering,” said Peter Van Hezewyk, President and CEO of CAA Niagara. “With the uncertainty of when side effects will kick in, consuming and driving puts everyone on the road in danger.”
CAA’s “Do Anything But Drive” campaign launched across Canada on September 14, 2020, with hopes that motorists will take the message to heart and find alternative routes after using cannabis. Public transit, rideshare services, taxis and carpooling with a designated driver are all safe, affordable alternatives to driving high.
“With so many new products, options, and ways to consume cannabis hitting the market, it’s not unreasonable to believe the number of users will continue to grow,” added Mr. Van Hezewyk. “We want to make certain impaired driving cases don’t increase as well.”
For more information on the effect’s cannabis-impaired driving and driving tips, please visit caaniagara.ca.
ABOUT CAA NIAGARA
Founded in 1911 as the St. Catharines Automobile Club with just 16 members, CAA Niagara has grown to more than 139,000 members with five Niagara locations; St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold and Grimsby. A not-for-profit membership organization, CAA Niagara, provides emergency road services, travel, insurance and member rewards.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
This study was completed on behalf of CAA South Central Ontario by Dig Insights, a Toronto market research company. The survey was conducted between June 24 and June 28, 2019, where 1,510 licensed Ontario drivers between the ages of 19 and 70 were asked questions about their cannabis usage and impaired-driving habits, as well as their views on education efforts and law enforcement post-legalization. Readable sample sizes of cannabis users and non-users were collected in order to understand how views towards cannabis-impaired driving differ. Margin of error is +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level.