As cannabis legalization looms, a new study released by Desjardins suggests 86 per cent of Canadian are concerned about drug-impaired driving. In fact, 75 per cent of those surveyed expressed concern in areas like legislation, testing and awareness. “Most respondents (71 per cent) believe there will be an increase in impaired driving when marijuana becomes legal and more (77 per cent) still worry that there has not been enough driver education on the topic,” a Desjardins press release notes, adding, that “in a new report from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), the percentage of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana rose to 20.9 per cent in 2015 from 15.9 per cent in 2000.” When it comes to which age group is most associated with marijuana-impaired driving, 90 per cent of respondents stated 16-34-year-olds. According to TIRF, the two biggest age brackets for fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana in 2015 were 16-19-year-old drivers (32.1 per cent) and 20-34-year-old drivers (35.9 per cent). The percentage of 35 to 49-year-old drivers who tested positive is also substantial at 16.9 per cent and 14.9 per cent among 50 to 64-year-old drivers. According to Statistics Canada’s National Cannabis Survey, one out of every seven marijuana users with a valid driver’s licence is getting behind the wheel within two hours of consuming marijuana. “This is especially alarming because Canadians are not confident that law enforcement has the means to deal with the challenge; 81 per cent of respondents believe we lack the tools and resources necessary to identify marijuana-impaired drivers,” Desjardin’s press release noted. READ ALSO: UBCM: Safety as important as regulation when cannabis is legalized Denis Dubois, President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins General Insurance Group, said as a leading insurer the company is “committed to our communities” and has “concerns regarding any form of impaired driving.” “Cannabis and drugs can impair your ability to stay focused and alert on the road,” Dubois stated. “It endangers yourself and others and we firmly support laws against its consumption while behind the wheel. “Government, law enforcement and other stakeholders are all working hard to address this issue. This is a collective effort and Desjardins will continue to invest in awareness and education to mitigate injury and help save lives. We’ve always encouraged Canadians to drive responsibly and safely and we’ll continue to do so,” he added. Marijuana isn’t the only drug-impaired driving Canadians are worried about. Three in four respondents were also concerned about those driving under the influence of prescription drugs: One in six Canadians say they have driven under the influence of an over-the-counter drug (for example, medication that can cause drowsiness), and one Canadian driver out of five has driven at least once under the influence of a prescription drug. The online Desjardins survey, conducted in March 2018, polled 3,020 respondents of driving age across Canada. READ ALSO: Cannabis Q&A with renowned Dr. Perry Kendall
Source: Rising Tide Consultants

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