Almost two million Ontarians may have driven high, under the influence of cannabis, a recent study has found. New research has shown that 1.9 million Ontario motorists have driven under the influence of cannabis, and over 735,000 have done so in the last three months.
The statistically representative study, commissioned by CAA and conducted by Ipsos in July 2018, surveyed 1,000 Ontarians over the age of 19 who own, lease or drive a vehicle and have a valid driver's license.
One of the big issues uncovered is the prevalence of 'poly-users', people who consume cannabis and alcohol or other mixed substances during the same time period. CAA's research shows that 205,800 Ontario drivers admit to drinking alcohol and using cannabis before getting behind the wheel in the last three months.
"Road safety needs to be prioritized as a leading issue as cannabis becomes legal in the coming weeks, but it's clear that the focus can't solely be on cannabis-impaired driving," said Elliott Silverstein, manager, government relations, CAA SCO. "We need to take an integrated view of the dangerous behaviours that impact road safety in Ontario and focus public education and enforcement efforts accordingly."
Of those surveyed, those that drive under the influence of cannabis are more likely to be male (69 per cent), between the ages of 25 and 34, and novice drivers (39 per cent), providing important insight for education and enforcement.
Ontario introduced a zero tolerance (any drugs or alcohol) approach for those with G1/G2 licenses as of July 1, 2018.
There is concern among current cannabis users who drive, that there will be more cannabis impaired drivers on the road following legalization (57 per cent) and over half (52 per cent) feel that they drive worse than a sober driver when under the influence of cannabis.
"There is a common perception that cannabis users feel that they drive better when under the influence of the drug," continued Silverstein. "This research shows that that is not necessarily the case and that current cannabis users are also concerned about impairment and road safety."