Canadian Underwriter

Politicians push for impaired driving prevention week

February 6, 2018   by Greg Meckbach

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With the federal government preparing to legalize recreational marijuana by no later than July, politicians from the three major parties spoke Friday in favour of designating the third week of March National Impaired Driving Prevention Week.

“Marijuana legalization will result in more impaired driving deaths, more accidents, and an increased risk to road safety,” Richard Motz, Conservative MP for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, Alta. said Friday in the House of Commons.

Motz made his comments during discussion of a motion to have the federal government “recognize the importance of educating Canadians about the consequences of impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs, fatigue or distraction,” and to designate the proposed impaired driving prevention week.

Debate on the motion is scheduled to resume Feb. 7.

Eighty per cent of Canadians surveyed by State Farm Canada in April 2017 said they were concerned about people driving under the influence of marijuana.

Motorists need advice from insurers on how much cannabis they can consume without getting too impaired to drive, Ontario Safety League president and chief executive officer Brian Patterson told Canadian Underwriter earlier.

Some politicians agree.

“Lots of education is needed because many Canadians still believe that the impacts of marijuana and alcohol are the same, if not less, for cannabis,” Motz told the Commons Friday.

Other politicians who spoke Friday in favour of the impaired driving prevention week included Liberal MP Marc Miller (who represents Ville-Marie-Le Sud-Ouest-Île-des-Soeurs, Que.) and Richard Cannings, NDP MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, B.C.

“It is now widely accepted that alcohol-impaired driving is wrong and that it causes considerable harm,” Cannings said. “However, as we move forward toward the legalization of cannabis, we must acknowledge that many individuals do not believe drug-impaired driving is quite so serious.”

If Bill C-45 is passed into law, it would be legal for adults to possess of up to 30 grams of recreational marijuana. Another government bill, C-46, proposes to give police the power to demand oral fluid samples from drivers at the roadside. Drivers with two to five nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood could face fines of up to $1,000; penalties for having more than 5 Ng per mL would be more severe.

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1 Comment » for Politicians push for impaired driving prevention week
  1. Education and training are key to preventing the deadly harm from marijuana impaired driving. Far to many people believe that it is safe to drive with the use of marijuana. The numbers of fatal deaths specific to marijuana impaired driving have doubled in Washington and Colorado. Further, the harm to innocent is growing. The data out of the state of Washington is showing that a driver involved in a fatal crash and testing positive for active THC marijuana only (indicative of acute use within hours), no other drugs or alcohol, is six times more likely to have killed someone other than themselves compared to a driver positive for alcohol only. The rate of death to innocent bicyclists and pedestrians, specifically from marijuana impaired driving, has also risen in the state Colorado.
    Marijuana DUI deaths are preventable. Our company, IMMAD is working on this. We have a technology under development for law enforcement roadside use. It measures the dysfunctions/impairments in vision caused by marijuana—some of which are demonstrated by the glasses. We believe the reason so much harm occurs to those innocent pedestrians and bicyclists is because those using marijuana do not accurately see people and objects, but are unaware of the impairment
    IMMAD – Impairment Measurement Marijuana and Driving is an objective, quick, simple and sensitive app for law enforcement under development. IMMAD measures the retinal ganglion cell dysfunction that occurs with marijuana use. This was reported in JAMA. IMMAD is objectively measuring aspects of the tunneling of vision often reported by marijuana users. It is an app that is simple, quick and objective.
    Until IMMAD is ready for roadside use….education is key to prevention…in addition to well trained officers who are, AND WILL ALWAYS BE, the best option to keep our roads safe.

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