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Cannabis and driving: More education needed to warn young people of dangers, CAA finds

Last Updated Dec 27, 2019 at 4:24 pm PDT

Summary

About a 25 per cent of people between 18 and 34 say they've driven high after pot or been in a car with a high driver

CAA says there needs to be more education for young people on the dangers of drug-impaired driving

Fewer people say it's important to plan for a safe ride after pot use than after drinking, survey finds

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We need more education for young people when it comes to cannabis and driving, according to the Canadian Automobile Association.

A study has found a quarter of people in Canada between the ages of 18 and 34 have driven high or have been a passenger in a car with a high driver.

Also, fewer people in that age group surveyed say it’s important to plan a safe ride home after using cannabis than after having alcohol.

“The study’s findings regarding attitudes and perceptions tells us there is a need for more education,” Jeff Walker, the CAA’s chief strategy officer, says. “If you plan to consume cannabis this holiday season, don’t drive. Make an alternate arrangement just like you would for drinking.”

The CAA notes that while people may think pot impairs your driving differently than alcohol, it says the effect is no different, and both decrease reaction times.

“…Decreased reaction times that can lead to collisions and even fatalities,” Walker adds.

In April, early data suggested there was no post-legalization spike in drug-impaired driving charges. Months later, in October, police, lawyers and advocates said that one year into cannabis legalization, Canada had a long way to go toward stamping out the black market and pot-impaired driving.

The federal government says trained officers or Drug Recognition Experts are able to determine whether a person is under the influence of drugs. Being caught and convicted of driving under the influence of drugs can lead to your license being suspended, fines, criminal charges, and in some cases even jail time.

-With files from The Canadian Press