Getting behind your wheel while under the influence of drugs is not only dangerous, but against the law. One misstep and you can have your license suspended, face fines, criminal charges, jail time, and pose a significant risk to your safety, the safety of your passengers and other road users.
National trends from the Road Safety Monitor 2019, (which is an annual public opinion survey conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation), showed an increase in the use of marijuana since its legalization in Canada. Not surprisingly, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation surveys indicate that marijuana increases your chance of a car accident. According to the Canadian Government, the percentage of Canadian drivers killed in vehicle crashes having tested positive for drugs (40%) now actually exceeds the numbers who test positive for alcohol (33%). These findings are concerning especially to those who opt to use marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes.
Studies show that Marijuana can impair each person differently, impairments depending on the:
- Method of consumption (i.e. whether it was smoked, inhaled, ingested);
- Quantity consumed;
- Variety of marijuana; and
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, including those used for medicinal purposes.
Consuming marijuana can affect your ability to react by affecting your motor skills, slowing your reaction time, causing dissociation, impairing short term memory and concentration, disabling quick decision making or handling unexpected events, causing dizziness, drowsiness and fatigue, amongst others. The Canadian Society of Forensic Science recently reported that impairment from marijuana can begin almost immediately and may last up to six (6) hours or more, depending of course on contributory factors such as THC levels and how marijuana was consumed. Since the effects of marijuana vary and you may not know exactly how long to wait before it is safe to get behind a wheel, it is best not taking a chance.
Ideally, if you are planning to consume marijuana then plan ahead. You can do this by taking one or more of the following steps:
- Making sure you have a designated driver.
- Calling a friend or family member to pick you up.
- Taking the TTC.
- Calling an Uber or a cab.
- Staying over.
- Talking to your doctor or your pharmacist on whether it is safe for you to drive while taking your medication.
Driving is a privilege and it is best that drivers err on the side of caution. At Singer Kwinter, we have witnessed how a serious motor vehicle accident can shatter lives of accident victims and their families. We strongly urge everyone to seek safety first and seek alternative methods of transportation if you consume marijuana.