Marijuana use significantly impairs ones driving ability by affecting judgement, motor coordination and reaction time. In fact, according to the most recent data from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, approximately 34 per cent of vehicle crash deaths can be linked to drug-impaired driving, which is nearly as many as those related to alcohol.
Drug-impaired driving occurs when an operator uses a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Of these, marijuana is one of the most common, with studies suggesting that each year, approximately 632,600 Canadian drivers operate a vehicle two hours after smoking marijuana.
Ho Does Marijuana Use Impact Driving Ability?
This is dangerous, as marijuana can impact ones driving ability in the following ways:
- Reduces a drivers ability to stay in the centre lane
- Impacts a drivers ability to judge safe following distances
- Impairs a drivers ability to make quick decisions regarding passing manoeuvres
- Makes it difficult for drivers to concentrate on the road
- Decreases a drivers ability to accurately judge his or her driving speed
Want to see just how much marijuana can impact driving safety? Watch this:
If caught operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, drivers could face severe penalties. For a first offence, drivers will have to pay a fine of no less than $1,000 and refrain from driving for 12 months. Jail time is also a potential punishment, especially for repeat offenders.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is especially common among young people, as around 22 per cent of Canadians ages 15 to 19 admitted to smoking at least once per year. Parents should speak to their children about the dangers of operating a vehicle under the influence of any substances that could impair their driving ability.