By Naeema Bawa
While drinking and driving is the subject of great attention and concern, driving under the influence of other drugs, especially marijuana, is hardly discussed at all. Driving high IS driving impaired, but is not covered by “Don’t drink and drive”, even though it should be. According to a national study by the Partnership For a Drug-Free Canada, almost one third (32%) of teens do not consider driving under the influence of marijuana to be as bad as alcohol, and nearly 25% of parents of teenagers do not consider driving while high on marijuana to be as bad as drinking and driving. A 2012 study by researchers at Dalhousie University found that smoking marijuana three hours before driving nearly doubled a driver’s risk of having a motor vehicle crash.
Some effects of marijuana on driving include slower reaction times, a shorter attention span, and altered perceptions of time and distance. These effects can lead a driver of any experience level to be unable to make the quick and smart decisions they need to respond to the road and other drivers in a rational manner.
Teens need to realize that while a roadside ‘breathalyzer-type’ drug test for marijuana, isn’t currently available, driving high is illegal. Police officers can use other tests including a drug recognition evaluation and a standard field sobriety test to determine impairment of any kind – and the penalties are harsh! The charges for driving high follow the Criminal Code for drinking and driving, which can include license suspension, big fines and jail time. It will also affect your insurance.
Overall, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol doubles your chances of being involved in a crash, and can change your life with a criminal record. The risk is not worth taking.
For more information please visit: http://www.madd.ca/madd2/en/services/youth_services_statistics.html#