Feds to study effects of cannabis on drivers

Marijuana plants. File Photo

A study due for completion in June 2020 will take a look at the impact of cannabis on Canada’s drivers.

The study, funded by the Government of Canada, will use simulated driving to help determine how increased levels of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, in blood and oral fluid can impact a driver. Impacts examined will include the ability to anticipate hazards, the level of risk-taking behaviour, reaction time and position and speed on the road.

The study will also seek to identify any differences that may exist between the ages and genders of drivers, THC levels and driving impairment.

The study will focus on drivers ranging in age from 19 to 45, and will cost $919,065 over three years. It will be conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The government is hoping to use the study to help inform policy on cannabis and driving, as well as public education and awareness materials about the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

According to a press release, a 2017 study led by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction found “substantial” evidence indicating driving after using cannabis increases the risk of a collision significantly. However, the press release says, more needs to be done to gather evidence on how exactly cannabis impacts drivers.

According to Statistics Canada, the number and rate for almost all drug-impaired driving violations increased in 2016.

There were 3,098 violations, up by 343 from the previous year.