The Canadian government decided to shell out more than C$900,000 in support of cannabis research. More specifically, it will fund a study on how cannabis use affects drivers.
According to the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, data on drug-impaired driving from police reports first became available in 2009. Since then, statistics show that drug-impaired driving has been on the rise and is, in fact, a major cause of fatal road crashes in Canada.
Numbers from Statistics Canada show that in 2016, there have been 3,098 drug-impaired driving violations. This is 343 more than the number in 2017.
In Canada, drug-impaired driving is illegal. And it will remain so after cannabis is regulated and legalized.
A study conducted in 2017 by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has strongly suggested that driving after cannabis use significantly increases the risk of getting involved in a road accident.
The study grant
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has announced earlier that Public Safety Canada is giving the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health C$919,065 over three years to study the impacts of cannabis consumption on drivers aged 19 to 45 years old.
The research will use simulated driving in order to determine how increased levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in the blood and oral fluid can affect driving.
The study will look into factors like the driver’s ability to anticipate hazards, reaction time, the level of risk-taking behavior, and the position and speed while on the road.
Moreover, the study will seek to determine if there are any differences between the drivers’ genders and ages, the THC levels in their blood, and driving impairment.
According to Health Canada research scientist and professor Bruna Brands, while they have known for quite some time that the use of cannabis affects one’s ability to drive, there is a need for a more targeted and in-depth knowledge in order to set limits for THC concentrations in the blood. Brands is also a collaborating scientist with CAMH.
Brands explained that the results of the research will allow them to set limits, comparable to those that had been set for alcohol some decades ago.
The study is expected to be completed in June 2020.