Drugs and Road Safety

From a road safety perspective, marijuana is already second only to alcohol as the drug most frequently found among drivers involved in crashes and drivers charged with impaired driving. It is also the most frequent drug found mixed with alcohol usage in vehicle crashes.

Drugs and driving has been an issue in road safety public policy for decades but only recently came to the forefront as a major issue of concern to Canadians, with the federal government’s commitment to legalizing marijuana. CAA believes government and other stakeholders must focus their attention on making sure that the legalization of marijuana does not increase the frequency of drug-impaired driving. We note that the state of technology to determine impairment is a work-in-progress. Equally important is polling that suggests that there is a lack of public education around the effects marijuana has on a driver’s ability to safely control their vehicle.

Read our latest news about what Canadians think about this issue.


What do Canadians Think?

  • Nearly two thirds of Canadians are concerned that roads will become more dangerous with the legalization of marijuana. That concern stems from fear of an increase in impaired driving, and lack of tools and resources for police officers to address drug impaired driving.
  • Even though marijuana is not legal yet, almost 1 in 5 Canadians say they have driven high or have been in a vehicle while the driver was under the influence.
  • The biggest myth out there is that marijuana doesn’t affect your driving, or can even make someone a better driver. And while most Canadians agree that marijuana worsens a driver’s abilities on the road, there’s just under a third (27 percent) of Canadians who disagree or who are unsure.


Our Work In This Space:

Submission to the Marijuana Task Force
There is research that suggests that with legalization there will be an increase in the frequency of marijuana-impaired driving. CAA recognizes that there are many factors at play and that drug-impaired driving is already a significant factor facing road users today. Read CAA’s submission to the Marijuana Task Force, chaired by MP Anne McLellan, in support of the Government’s consultation.

Cannabis & Road Safety: Policy Challenges
CAA funded a study conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation that looks into the priorities that need to be addressed and resolved to prevent and reduce drugged driving as the Federal Government legalizes marijuana. The priority areas include: research on the effect of cannabis on a driver, laws and penalties, implementation strategies for law enforcement, public perception on the effects of cannabis and education needed to debunk myths. 



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