Drivers worried about pot’s impact
CAA survey says Ontarians are concerned about road safety once marijuana is legalized
TORONTO — The Canadian Automobile Association says nearly four in every five Ontario drivers surveyed are concerned about the impact legalizing marijuana will have on road safety.
A poll of 1,000 drivers — commissioned by the CAA South Central Ontario and conducted by Ipsos — found that 77 per cent of respondents are concerned about their personal safety on the road following marijuana legalization on July 1, 2018.
CAA director of government relations Teresa Di Felice said the survey shows the majority of respondents also believe there will be an increase in the frequency of marijuana-impaired driving.
“I think there is just a general perception, and when you also take a look at the fact that almost 50 per cent of people surveyed have at least tried (marijuana) at least once, people recognize that there is an impact on your cognitive ability and therefore it would impact your ability to drive safely,” she said.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents said public education must be a focus during legalization and many support strict penalties for drug-impaired drivers.
“Absolutely, things like fines and suspensions as ways of influencing people to recognize that not to drive while under the influence of marijuana needs to be put in place,” she said.
Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has previously said proposed changes to Ontario’s road safety laws would align drug and alcohol impaired driving offences across the province. The new legislation would also increase penalties for drivers who fail or refuse to provide a sample for a roadside test.