Drunk or high – you can’t drive!

Spotlight Staff

Despite some views, drugged driving is just as serious as drunk driving.

Now the provincial government says it’s time to debunk the myth that driving after using marijuana is safer than driving after consuming alcohol.

Misconceptions about the police’s ability to detect impairment caused by drug use are also present, states a news release from the provincial government dated Dec. 1.

“While society has made significant inroads against impaired driving, drugged driving is on the rise and Albertans need to be aware that, in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between drunk driving and drugged driving,” Transportation Minister Brian Mason says.

“That is because alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s ability and increase the risk of an otherwise fully preventable crash.”

Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) Alberta supports the issue.

“While SADD Alberta continues to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving among Alberta’s youth, we have received alarming feedback about the increase of drug-impaired driving and the casual attitude many young people take toward the risks associated with it,” says Arthur Lee, provincial community liaison for SADD Alberta.

“Drug-impaired driving will likely surpass alcohol- impaired driving soon, and it’s a topic we’re going to address with our Alberta schools going forward.”

Impaired-driving facts:

-The Traffic Injury Research Foundation determined that in Canada during 2012, drugs were detected in 40 per cent of fatally injured drivers.

-In 2012, 82 Alberta drivers killed in collisions tested positive for drugs.

-In comparison, 71 fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol that same year.

-Of those, 34 had both alcohol and drugs in their system.

-Anything that impairs your ability to drive – alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal – may result in an impaired- driving charge.

-Mixing alcohol and drugs of any sort is also a concern. Combining impairing substances has major risks. Always use substances responsibly.

-According to a study done by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, cannabis creates performance deficits in many skills required to drive safely, such as tracking, reaction time, visual function, concentration, short-term memory and divided attention.

-Studies of driving performance (both simulated and on-road) show increased likelihood to swerve, difficulty maintaining a safe distance and speed as a function of cannabis use.

-In the 2014 Driver Attitude Survey, seven in 10 Albertans agreed that too many people are driving under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.

-The 2014 Driver Attitude Survey also noted that only 55 per cent of Albertans make alternate driving arrangements when they have taken drugs that can affect their ability to drive.

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