WEED STUDY: Cannabis and Road Safety Report from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation
Canadian-based organization, TIRF, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, just released a new study that focuses on cannabis consumption and road safety.
TIRF’s mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries on all roadways. Since 1964, TIRF has been recognized for identifying the causes of road-related crashes, and developing effective programs to address them.
Because drugged driving will steadily increase in Canada, TIRF focused on the public safety concerns of cannabis consumption while driving.
What Was the Study’s Goal?
Funded by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), the study focuses on drugged driving, and ways to address the issue on Canadian roadways. It included key strategies, issues and implementation plans to ensure a safer community. Federal and provincial stakeholders were interviewed for the most comprehensive results. The parts of the study had a focus on research, current law, strategy, public perception, education, metrics and evaluation.
The Results and Suggested Actions for the Future
TIRF found two overarching issues in their study for road safety stakeholders.
One issue to address is to have clearer communication from relevant federal agencies, such as Public Safety Canada, the Drugs and Driving Committee, and others, to local entities. This will open a network of opportunity and avoid an agency repeating the same tactics. TIRF recommends this clear line of communication for everyone responsible in the road safety policies and programs in their area.
The second issue is resources. There is a lack of staff members, time and funds to support the large-scale modifications for road safety programs that include cannabis use and driving. Therefore, cannabis-impaired drivers won’t avoid detection in the program because of the lack of administrative regulations directly applying to them. Bridging the gap between existing programs and cannabis-impaired drivers will ensure a more seamless procedure.
TIRF lists other, more specific recommendations in their study, such as conducting more research, improving current law, and strengthening implementation strategies. In addition, they recommend a national education campaign to youth and high-risk populations on the misconception of the effects of cannabis.
The Ignition Interlock
One part of the study lists the current penalties for drug-impaired driving offenses. Usually they will need to use an Ignition Interlock. An Interlock is a device in one’s vehicle that physically prevents the user from driving drunk.
It may not make sense for someone to use an Ignition Interlock if they are being charged for drugged driving. In reality, however, many impaired drivers will have a combination of drugs and alcohol in their system. TIRF suggests that the required use of an Interlock for cannabis-impaired drivers would have potential benefits. And at a minimum, the device would help avoid higher levels of impairment that result from the use of cannabis and alcohol.
TIRF does recommend the use of both an Ignition Interlock and proper educational resources, like a remedial program, for cannabis-impaired offenders. Being without one could mean the offender will not able to fully recover.
Get Back on the Road with Smart Start
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