Cannabis & Driving

CAA Launches New National Video Campaign – Do Anything But Drive


According to new research from CAA, one-fifth of younger Canadians (20 per cent), aged 18-24 say they have driven high or been in a vehicle with a high driver. The finding points to the need for more public education to make sure everyone understands the risks of driving high.

Gen Z (18-24) is a very socially conscious generation that understands the dangers of driving drunk, but there is a group who doesn’t associate the same risky behaviour with smoking cannabis or doing edibles.

Edibles compound the issue since the effects can take longer to manifest, and last longer. This led to CAA’s new national video campaign Do Anything But Drive, which carries a simple message for young adults: if you’re going to do edibles, do anything but drive. Plan ahead. Make arrangements for a safe way home, be it a designated driver, a taxi or rideshare, or staying over. Read the full news release here.

Cannabis Legislation

Cannabis legislation prohibits driving while impaired by alcohol, cannabis or a combination of both. Impaired driving is a serious crime that can threaten you and your loved ones’ safety and that of others on the road. Learn more about Saskatchewan’s legislation in CAA Saskatchewan Magazine: Higher Learning – What you need to know about cannabis legislation and driving in Saskatchewan. 

Cannabis and Road Safety

There’s broad scientific agreement that cannabis intoxication can change driver behaviour. Unlike alcohol, which has a profound effect on physical coordination even at relatively low levels, cannabis’s most pronounced effects are on the way a person thinks – and how a driver might react to unexpected occurrences on the road.

Young Canadians are more at risk of a vehicle crash even five hours after inhaling cannabis, according to results of a clinical trial conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and McGill University, and funded by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

The research found that performance declined significantly, in key areas such as reaction time, even five hours after inhaling the equivalent of less than one typical joint. The participants’ driving performance, which was tested in a driving simulator, deteriorated as soon as they were exposed to the kinds of distractions common on the road. 

The peer-reviewed study was published online on October 15, 2018 at CMAJ Open, an online sister journal to CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Cannabis does impair your ability to drive. It can affect your:

  • Coordination: Steering and other car instrument handling can be diminished.
  • Reaction time: Drivers on cannabis are slower to respond to road situations.
  • Concentration: Attention can greatly diminish under the influence of the drug.
  • Decision-making: Cannabis compromises your ability to make sound driving choices.
  • Distances: Impairs ability to judge distance to other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

cannabis affects your abilities