By CRM Staff
Toronto, Ontario -- October 3, 2018 -- Impaired driving may be on the rise in Canada as a result of the upcoming legalization of cannabis, a reality that many Canadians aren’t high on.
According to a recent poll conducted by Ledger, on behalf of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, 79 percent of Canadians said they are concerned about cannabis-impaired drivers on the road once the drug becomes legal.
The Ledger also revealed that 62 percent of Canadian cannabis users have either driven or been a passenger in a vehicle being operated by a driver who had consumed cannabis.
"Drinking and driving is now socially unacceptable. Unfortunately we can't assume the same for driving while under the use of cannabis,” said Don Forgerson, president and CEO of IBC.
“We need the same approach to deterrence - appropriate penalties and detection tools - to discourage all forms of impaired driving so that broader use of legalized cannabis doesn't put public safety at risk.”
The framework for cannabis use and its relationship with driving laws is still very unclear for many Canadians, as 43 percent claimed they didn’t know how long to wait before being able to safely drive after cannabis use.
"It is imperative for governments across Canada to invest sufficiently in comprehensive public safety and awareness frameworks that emphasize the risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis," said Forgeron.
"In addition to approving drug-screening equipment, IBC encourages the federal government to ensure provinces and municipalities have sufficient resources to enforce cannabis-related impaired driving laws."
Canadians will also need to keep a close eye on their insurance premiums, as the potential increase in impaired drivers threatens to inflate rates across the country.
“When it comes to auto insurance, crash rates have increased in areas where cannabis has been legalized in the U.S., and Canadian auto insurance companies are aware of this,” said Alyssa Furtado, CEO of Ratehub.ca.
“If accidents as a result of cannabis use increase, insurance companies’ loss-ratios will increase, and that will ultimately increase individual drivers’ premiums.”