In a press release, the CAA references a study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse that states marijuana impairs cognitive and motor abilities needed to to operate a vehicle.

Recreational use of marijuana may be a more socially-acceptable activity now that the U.S. is legalizing the drug in certain states, but according to a new poll conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association, Canadians have their own set of worries if the drug were to become legal here.

The poll from the CAA says that 63 percent of Canadians are worried that road safety will decline if the government were to legalize marijuana. Simply put, sober drivers are worried about drugged drivers, the same as they're worried about drunk drivers.

... taking the drug can double the risk of being involved in a crash.

Here's the scary part though: in the same poll, 26 percent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 said they believe a driver is either the same or better on the road under the influence of marijuana.

In a press release, the CAA references a study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse that states marijuana impairs cognitive and motor abilities needed to to operate a vehicle. It also says taking the drug can double the risk of being involved in a crash.

"There are a lot of misconceptions out there that marijuana doesn't affect your driving, or even worse, it makes you a better driver," said Jeff Walker, vice-president of public affairs, CAA National. "There need to be significant resources devoted to educating the public in the run-up to – and after – marijuana is legalized."

With the Canadian government planning to introduce legislation in the spring of 2017 to legalize marijuana, the CAA implemented a separate study that focused on what federal and provincial governments need to do to prepare for whatever new laws are put into place. The major points include education before legislation is passed, the implementation of a drugged driving policy, and the costs required to train police to recognize drugged drivers, and the equipment required.

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A group at Simon Fraser University in B.C. is currently testing a new device that could catch drugged drivers. There are many challenges involved with training police officers to spot drivers under the influence of marijuana, and devices like this one are meant to help take out the guesswork.

In the lead-up to the legislation, the CAA says it's pushing the Canadian government to enact "clear and meaningful" laws to help discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

In the meantime, and as the holiday season nears, Motor1 Canada will do its part by telling our readers never to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Enjoy your time behind the wheel, but do it while you're sober. It makes the roads safer for all of us.

Photo: cinders and rain via Flickr

Source: Canadian Automobile Association

 

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