Dear Traffic Safety Stakeholder:
Our traffic safety focus for the month of September is Impaired Driving.
Despite the deficits in driving ability caused by cannabis, many drivers perceive themselves to be safer drivers when they are high. In spite of the inherent risks of drinking and driving, drugged driving is still seen as a harmless activity.
- In 2015, nearly half of all 24 hour licence suspensions in Alberta were due to drug impairment.
- On average, 7,550 people were convicted of impaired driving in Alberta each year for the last five years.
- Alberta is above the national average for drugged driving at 55 per cent. 112 drivers killed in collisions during 2013 tested positive for drugs. (The Alcohol and Drug-Crash Problem in Canada: 2013 Report, CCMTA, TIRF)
- Seven out of ten Albertans agree too many people continue to drive under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. Yet only 45 per cent of people make alternate driving arrangements when they have taken drugs that can affect their ability to drive. (Driver Attitude Survey, January 2017).
- Only 53 per cent of Albertans feel it is completely unacceptable for a driver to drive after taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs that warn against using them and driving. (Edmonton and Area Traffic Safety Culture Survey: Summary of Key Findings, 2016)
- According to the Final Report on the Oral Fluid Drug Screening Device Pilot Project, the most common drugs found in drivers were cannabis (61 per cent), followed by methamphetamines and amphetamines (23 per cent each), cocaine (14 per cent), opiates (9 per cent), and benzodiazephines (3 per cent).
- With regard to driving, 27 per cent of Canadians indicated they have driven a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis at some point in the past. This is higher (42 per cent) among recent cannabis users. Over one in three Canadians (35 per cent) also reported they have been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone under the influence of cannabis (Baseline Survey on Awareness, Knowledge and Behaviour Associated with Recreational Use of Marijuana, 2016).