Study will include simulated driving

123RF Stock Photo
The federal government has announced it will spend $919,065 over three years to study the impacts of cannabis on drivers

The Canadian government is investing over $900,000 to learn more about how cannabis affects drivers.

According to a release from Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, police-reported data on drug-impaired driving first became available in 2009.

The statistics since then show it has been on the rise and is a major contributor to fatal road crashes in the country.

A 2017 study led by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction provides strong evidence showing that driving after using cannabis significantly increases the risk of being in an accident.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale announced today, July 3, Public Safety Canada is providing $919,065 over three years to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to study the impacts of cannabis on drivers ranging in age from 19 to 45.

Using simulated driving, the research will aim to find out how increased levels of THC in blood and oral fluid can impact a driver.

It will look at the ability to anticipate hazards, the level of risk-taking behaviour, reaction time, and position and speed on the road.

It will also seek to ascertain if there are any differences between the ages and genders of drivers, THC levels and driving impairment.

“While we have known for a long time that cannabis use affects our ability to drive, more in-depth and targeted knowledge is necessary to set limits for blood concentrations of THC,” professor Bruna Brands, a research scientist with Health Canada and a collaborating scientist with CAMH, said in a release.

“This research will enable us to set such limits, comparable to those which were set for alcohol several decades ago.”

Drug-impaired driving is illegal in Canada and will remain so after cannabis is legalized and regulated.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 3,098 drug-impaired driving violations in 2016, 343 more than 2017.

The study is anticipated to be completed in June 2020.

Source: GFW Advertiser