Study Shows Peer Pressure Plays a Part in Drug-Impaired Driving


Drug-impaired driving is a concern on Ontario’s roads and it seems that the message of driving sober isn’t getting through to many people. Police are alert for all impaired drivers and since cannabis’ legalization, they have been trained extensively on the use of roadside screening and sobriety tests.

Drugs like cannabis can "impair your ability to drive safely and increase your risk of getting into a collision" according to the Government of Canada’s website.

Cannabis and other drugs can impair each person differently. The impairment of individuals can depend on how the cannabis is ingested. They can be smoked, eaten, or inhaled. Other factors to consider are the frequency of use and amounts consumed, as well as the THC content of the cannabis. Because of these factors, there aren’t guidelines for how much is safe to use before driving, or how long you should wait to drive.

Cannabis affects your motor skills, reaction times, short-term memory and concentration, and decision-making speed.

According to the Government of Canada

“One in five people who have used cannabis in the past 12 months say they have driven within two hours of smoking or vapourizing, while one in ten say they have driven within four hours of ingesting cannabis.”

The GrowthOp recently published an article based on Australian research on who drives drug-impaired and wide and the results are informative. Drug drivers are “more likely to be single, young males who often drive after cannabis and who score high on sensation seeking and impulsivity scales”. They also found that peer influence is the most important social determinant of drug-impaired driving.

The Journal of Drug Issues published a paper in 2021, ”Risk Factors Associated With Driving After Cannabis Use Among Canadian Young Adults” Which examined 1,126 Canadian drivers 17-35 who used cannabis in the 12 months before the study. They questioned the driving after cannabis use (DACU) risk factors. They answered a questionnaire on their use habits, cannabis expectations, driving behaviours, peer behaviour and social factors.

They concluded that “Income (CA$30,000–CA$69,000), weekly-to-daily cannabis use, higher level of cannabis-related problems, expectation that cannabis facilitates social interactions, drunk driving, belief that DACU is safe, general risky driving behaviours, having a few friends who had DACU and injunctive norms predicted past 12-month DACU. Older age, holding negative expectations concerning cannabis, driving aggressively and perceived accessibility of public transportation decreased the probability of DACU. With restricted resources, programmes will be more efficient by targeting Canadian young adults most inclined to DACU by focussing on these risk factors.”

There are several reports in Canada indicating that more of us are choosing to drive after using cannabis. Experts warn that this is a completely unnecessary risk to take and that chances of being involved in a car accident increase dramatically when driving impaired.

If you or someone in your family has been injured in a car accident involving a drug-impaired or impaired driver contact one of Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law's experienced personal injury lawyers today at 1.866.414.4878