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National Safe Driving Week 2017 - December 1 - 7


December 1st, 2017

November 30, 2017
National Safe Driving Week 2017
Marijuana and Motoring: Green Doesn't Always Mean Go

Ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to de-criminalize
marijuana, there's been a buzz around the country - pardon the pun - about
safety concerns surrounding the announcement. Enforcement is a key prong of
safety, and roadside testing is one of the most critical challenges facing
police services nationwide.

This year's National Safe Driving Week, December 1 - 7, the Canada Safety
Council and Public Safety Canada want to remind you that enforcement only
comes into play when the law is being broken... and it's your responsibility
to ensure that you never drive under the influence of drugs.

"It's a very dangerous idea to drive after consuming marijuana," said Jack
Smith, President of the Canada Safety Council. "There's often a comparison
made between driving drunk and driving high. Too often, the question becomes
which is more dangerous. The real question should be, why risk either in the
first place?"

Studies show that Canadians are concerned with the possibility of further
impaired drivers. Research done by State Farm Insurance in 2016 shows that
more than 60 per cent of respondents foresee an increase in impaired driving
when marijuana is legalized.

Out of these same respondents, only one in 10 admitted to driving high - and
44 per cent of those who reported driving while high said it didn't impact
their ability to drive safely.

Indeed, the drug carries several effects that make its combination with
driving a potentially fatal one:

* Marijuana reduces reaction time. A slower reaction can quickly make
the difference between a narrow miss and a fatal impact.
* The passage of time feels altered. This can make a driver wait
longer than necessary at a stop sign or green light, or it can have the
inverse effect and make an impatient driver run through a red light. Neither
result is positive as collisions are most easily avoided when everyone is
driving predictably.
* Drivers who consume marijuana and alcohol at the same time may
experience a multiplicative effect of these drugs' impacts on the body. In
other words, drivers who have had a few drinks feel less impaired than they
actually are, and precautions they might normally take - driving slower,
being overly attentive - may disappear because of this feeling.

The simplest solution to avoiding this problem is to avoid driving after
consumption of marijuana. The effects of marijuana typically last between
one and six hours, depending on the amount and method of consumption. When
in doubt, err on the side of caution and wait the full six hours before
driving. If you absolutely must get somewhere, call a taxi or get a ride
from a friend.

- 30 -

For more information, please contact:
Lewis Smith <mailto:media@safety-council.org>
Communications and Media Program Coordinator
613-739-1535 x228

Posted on December 1st, 2017