Drivers in the Canadian state of Ontario are worried that pot legalization may impact road safety, according to a recent survey.
In a poll involving the participation of 1,000 drivers commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association South Central and conducted by Ipsos, about 16 percent of respondents said they have used cannabis within the last three months.
The potential threat that this group – dubbed by the pollster as ‘current users’ – is what CAA director of government relations Teresa Di Felice says is a serious public education issue.
Per the survey, 8 percent of those who are current marijuana users think they drive better under the influence of the drug; 29 percent said their driving ability is unimpaired by the drug; while 12 percent believed they could not identify the difference between driving under the influence of marijuana and driving sober. The other 52 percent said they drive worse after using marijuana.
Di Felice finds these results startling but only supports the strong need for the government to fund a public education campaign which should target young drivers who are more likely to be marijuana users.
A good 77 percent of the poll’s respondents said they worry about road safety when legalization starts in July 1, 2018. About 75 percent of the respondents said they “support or somewhat support” imposing stricter penalties for drivers who drive under pot influence.
Of this, Di Felice added: “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.”