As a leading insurer in Canada, Desjardins has worked with key partners in addressing the issue of drug impaired driving. We worked closely with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation to create the Drug Impaired Driving Learning Center but according to our latest survey, 77% of Canadians still worry that there hasn't been enough driver education on the topic.
With the legalization of marijuana, many stakeholders have been raising serious concerns with drug impaired driving. And our latest survey supports these concerns as the majority of Canadians (86 per cent) are worried drug impaired driving. In fact, 75 per cent are concerned with progress in crucial areas like legislation, testing and awareness.
A life-threatening issue
Most respondents (71 per cent) believe there will be an increase in impaired driving when marijuana becomes legal. In a new report from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), the percentage of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana rose to 20.9% in 2015 from 15.9% in 2000.
Age plays a factor
When it comes to which age group is most associated with marijuana-impaired driving, 90% of respondents stated 16-34-year-olds. According to TIRF, the two biggest age brackets for fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana in 2015 were 16-19-year-old drivers (32.1%) and 20-34-year-old drivers (35.9%). Also, the percentage of 35 to 49-year-old drivers who tested positive is substantial at 16.9% and 14.9% among 50 to 64-year-old.
Use behind the wheel and enforcement
According to Statistics Canada's National Cannabis Survey, one out of every seven marijuana users with a valid driver's licence is getting behind the wheel within two hours of consuming marijuana. This is especially alarming because Canadians are not confident that law enforcement has the means to deal with the challenge; 81 per cent of respondents believe we lack the tools and resources necessary to identify marijuana-impaired drivers.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
Marijuana isn't the only drug-impaired driving Canadians are worried about. Three in four respondents are also concerned about those driving under the influence of prescription drugs:
- One in six Canadians say they have driven under the influence of an over-the-counter drug (for example, medication that can cause drowsiness).
- One Canadian driver out of five has driven at least once under the influence of a prescription drug.
Partners with a common goal
Desjardins works closely with national partners, like the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, to better inform Canadians about the risks of the road. Desjardins is proud to share two additional resources that will help combat drug-impaired driving:
Drug-Impaired Driving Learning Centre is a web-based resource that was designed to share the latest research about the problem, increase awareness, and inform the development of effective strategies to tackle drug-impaired driving.
A new Traffic Injury Research Foundation report on Marijuana Use Among Drivers in Canada examines the role of marijuana in collisions involving fatally injured drivers between 2000 and 2015.