Driv­ers wor­ried about pot’s im­pact

CAA sur­vey says On­tar­i­ans are con­cerned about road safety once mar­i­juana is le­gal­ized

Waterloo Region Record - - CANADA - Shawn Jef­fords

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.

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