While the country waits for the possibility of new impaired driving legislation and the impending legalization of marijuana, the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario is getting busy putting up new road signs. These signs are designed to make anyone considering the possibility of impaired driving in Ontario to re-think that decision, and they’re not waiting for the new laws to pass to post them.
The new signs say “DON’T DRIVE HIGH,” and they join in with other signs that ask drivers not to drink and drive and not to text and drive. Instead of the general image of a cell phone or a glass of alcohol, these new signs have a crossed-out marijuana leaf and a set of keys.
It’s a simple reminder, but it’s one that needs to be displayed in a culture where some consider that driving high really isn’t driving impaired. Some people even believe that they’re better drivers when they are high, and that driving under the influence of drugs isn’t the same as driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to a survey by State Farm, nine out of ten Canadians said they’ve never driven under the influence of marijuana, but forty four percent of those people have said they think they could drive safely if they did. The survey also found that twenty percent of Canadians said that nothing would make them stop driving while stoned.
Scientific research shows that idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Drug use studies show that marijuana has the same type of effects alcohol does on driving: it impairs your judgement, affects your motor coordination, and slows your reaction time. That’s why, when you put marijuana together with driving, you have a recipe for disaster.
Will signs that tell drivers not to drive high help stop an influx of drug-impaired drivers when the laws change? Clearly they’re not the only solution to the problem of impaired driving in Ontario, but every positive step is a step in the right direction.