Marijuana legalization will cause more collisions, claim Ontario drivers

By CRM Staff

Toronto, Ontario — December 7, 2017 — As both the Ontario and federal governments work towards the implementation of the legalization of cannabis, the province’s drivers believe there could be an increase in marijuana-impaired driving and, as a result, more collisions.

CAA South Central Ontario (SCO) commissioned a study, conducted by Ipsos, to better understand public perception around the use of marijuana and its influence on driving. The survey asked 1,000 Ontario drivers about the development of an education strategy and how governments, as well as law enforcement agencies, should go about implementing impaired driving policies.

A majority of Ontario drivers, according to the study, believe there will be an increase in the frequency of marijuana-impaired driving. Many think that legalized cannabis use will result in more collisions than is currently the case due to alcohol or distracted driving.

74 percent of respondents said that public education on cannabis-impaired driving laws, and the potential penalties, is important to them.

“The survey showed that for many, road safety is front of mind when it comes to the pending legalization of marijuana,” said Teresa Di Felice, director of government and community relations at CAA SCO. “As a road safety advocate, CAA is focused on working with government officials to provide input on cannabis-legislation, and to create various public relations education campaigns based on research and legislation.”

The results of the survey also show that there is strong support among Ontario drivers to put stricter fines and penalties in place for marijuana-impaired driving. Additionally, many of the people that took part in the survey said that the top five ideas to prevent marijuana-impaired driving are: public awareness; campaigns; stricter/Stronger penalties; large fines; education of health risks; and suspension or loss of license.

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