Let’s Take Action and Stop More Tragedies Caused by Driving High

Thousands of impaired drivers have been taken off the roads over the last 30 years, thanks to tougher laws, better enforcement and a growing awareness of the dangers of impaired driving. Thousands more choose not to drink and drive in the first place, thanks to the work of MADD Canada. But the problem of impaired driving is far from solved. More than 1/3 of fatally injured drivers in Canada test positive for drugs other than alcohol. Yet there is no approved roadside screening device in Canada to test for drugs. And myths around drugs and driving continue to thrive –– including a shocking lack of awareness that driving after using cannabis and other drugs isn’t just illegal, but dangerous.

  • Survey data from a 2013 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) report showed that, among young drivers in grades 10 to 12, 4% drove after drinking while 9.7% drove after smoking
  • Approximately 16% of students surveyed by CAMH reported riding in a vehicle driven by someone who had been using drugs.

Many young people, and some parents, think driving under the influence of drugs is safer than driving under the influence of alcohol. Research shows otherwise:

  • Studies have shown that driving after using drugs can cause unwelcome effects behind the wheel including a shorter attention span, an altered perception of time and distances, and slow reaction times that impair the driver’s ability to respond to sudden events in traffic.
  • Smoking three hours before driving nearly doubled a driver’s risk of having a motor vehicle crash, according to research at Dalhousie University in 2012.
  • Despite these findings, nearly 32% of teens and nearly 25% of their parents did not consider driving under the influence of cannabis to be as bad as alcohol according to a national study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada.
  • Make sure the whole family knows the laws for young drivers, including 0.00% BAC restrictions  – and that they’re also in danger if they drive after using drugs, or riding with someone who has. Know the laws for young drivers.
  • Share the facts  about drugged driving – it’s dangerous and illegal and could destroy lives, including their own.
  • Stay in the loop by monitoring your teen’s behaviour, talking to their friends and other parents.
  • If you or anyone in your family is hosting a party, stock up on food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Make sure your teens know the laws and rules against underage drinking and against drug use. But also help them be prepared and plan ahead by having money for a taxi, choosing a designated driver or arranging to stay the night with friends.
  • Let them know that, no matter what, they can call you for a safe ride home.

You already know the best way to drive safely: don’t use drugs or alcohol. But if you do, have a plan so that you don’t feel you have to drive, or get a ride home from someone who’s drunk or high:

  • Choose a designated driver who didn’t use any drugs or consume any alcohol. Not even a little.
  • Plan to stay over at your friend’s house. Sleeping on the floor won’t kill you, but driving high or drunk could.
  • Talk to your parents. Tell them that if you’re impaired, you’re calling home for a ride.
  • Carry cash and the number of a taxi company.
  • If the party is at your place, don’t let any of your friends drive home impaired. Invite them to stay the night. Or call their parents. They’re better off alive and at home than they are dead or in jail.
  • Sign the Promise to Drive Drug and Alcohol-Free – because we really, really want you to be safe on the roads, and keep other people safe too.

Spread the word.

  • Forward this page to a friend.
  • Post it on social media.
  • Tell your friends.
  • Anything you can do to spread the word that drugged driving is dangerous driving will help –– even if you only stop one person from driving after using drugs, it’s worth it.

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