Cannabis-impaired driving on the rise in Ontario

Cannabis use can affect coordination, reaction time, attention, judgment, and decision-making

There’s been a spike in cannabis-induced impaired driving in Ontario, particularly involving edibles.

A CAA survey found 38 per cent of cannabis-impaired drivers last year consumed edibles before getting behind the wheel – a 12 per cent increase from the year before, and double the number in 2019.

Among the findings:

  • In the past three months, 7 per cent (approximately 750,000 Ontario drivers) admit to driving after consuming some form of cannabis.
    • Almost three-quarters (70 per cent) of the cannabis-impaired drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel within 3 hours of consumption.
    • Nearly half (45 per cent) have felt high while driving. 
  • 6 per cent of Ontario drivers admitting having been charged—an alarming doubling from the previous year.
  • Collisions caused by impaired driving also rose to 6 per cent in 2023, compared to 4 per cent in the preceding year.

“The data shows us that while drivers primarily engage in cannabis-impaired driving after smoking a joint, the prevalence of driving under the influence of edibles is on the upswing, and that poses a greater risk to road safety,” says Michael Stewart, community relations consultant at CAA SCO. “Edibles are harder to detect and can take up to two hours for the effects to kick in.”

Cannabis use can affect coordination, reaction time, attention, judgment, and decision-making. Motorists are urged to stay informed about the risks and penalties of impaired driving

“While edibles may be legal, CAA emphasizes that they are incompatible with responsible driving,” says Stewart.

banner image: CAA SCO