Avoid cannabis: that’s one conclusion that can be drawn from a recent survey in British Columbia.
More than a thousand B.C. drivers were questioned in emergency rooms about their recreational drug habits. Not surprisingly, alcohol topped the list of drugs used by injured drivers.
What was notable was that marijuana was no stranger to the emergency room. More than 7 percent of injured drivers consumed pot in the hours preceding their accident, and over 12 percent showed traces of earlier use.
Dr. Jeff Brubacher, a Vancouver emergency room physician who wrote about the survey in the British Columbia Medical Journal, quotes a study showing that heavy cannabis use can double a driver’s risk of a serious crash.
Br Brubacher’s opinion piece was about more than just cannabis. It called for measures that would increase road safety in B.C. and Canada
- More research to better understand areas of drugged driving, such as the crash risk of driving under prescription medications, that have not yet been studied.
- More funding for better screening tools to detect drug-impaired drivers.ImImpa
- Improved legislation on drugged driving.
There is no doubt that, as the stigma attached to drunk driving grows, marijuana is becoming a fashionable alternative of sorts. Its users tend to be young and less concerned about the dangers of driving under its influence. The fact is, cannabis impairs one’s concentration reaction times, faculties which are essential to safe driving.
The dangers of alcohol are well known, and we even have ignition interlocks to prevent drivers from starting their vehicle if they have been drinking. But other drugs have nto been researched nearly enough in terms of what they do to a driver’s ability to control a car. That is why Dr Brubacher’s piece should be heeded: we still lack vital information about the effects of recreational and prescription drugs on driving, and this information could help save lives.