Canadians Indicate Growing Concern About Road Safety At One-year Anniversary Of Recreational Cannabis Legalization, New Survey Finds

(STL.News) – A new survey released by Abbott (NYSE: ABT), a global healthcare leader, shows Canadians are growing more concerned over the impact of cannabis on road safety.  These results come one year after recreational marijuana became legal nationwide with the implementation of Bill C-45.

According to a recent survey of 1,002 Canadian adults conducted by Atomik Research on behalf of Abbott, almost half of Canadians (46%) do not believe enough is being done to stop drugged driving while 43% of respondents do not believe law enforcement has a reliable way to quickly test a driver at the roadside for being under the influence of drugs.1

Additional statistics uncovered from the survey, designed to gauge behaviors and attitudes toward drug-impaired driving and road safety, include:

  • One-third of respondents (33%) personally know someone who has “driven an automobile soon after taking drugs”
  • Nearly one third of Canadians (30%) have heard someone say: “I drive better when I’ve smoked marijuana,” or similar
  • Half of respondents believe that for the majority of DUI arrests, the driver is under the influence of a single drug and alcohol

These findings echo similar themes collected by CAA national in a recent poll showing that more than one in five Canadians (21%) say they have been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver has ingested marijuana.2,3

“Canada deserves a great deal of credit for approving roadside cannabis testing technologies, which give law enforcement an added tool to identify drug-impaired drivers,” said Erin Holmes, vice president, Criminal Justice and Technical Writer, Criminal Justice Programs at Responsibility.org, and subject matter expert on alcohol and drug-impaired driving.  “However, these survey results affirm that more must be done to educate cannabis consumers about the profound public safety implications to driving while high,” said Holmes, who is an alumna of the University of Ottawa.

Tools and Technology to Keep Roads Safe

Roadside drug testing tools are critical to not only help law enforcement detect drug-impaired drivers but also act as a deterrent and cause a motorist to think twice before getting behind the wheel.

Currently, many law enforcement agencies rely on blood and urine tests to confirm whether a driver has taken drugs.  However, blood sample collection can take hours to collect and analyze so it may not offer a true snapshot at the time of the incident or traffic stop.

To help law enforcement detect and deter drug-impaired drivers at the roadside, Abbott developed SoToxa, a handheld device that analyzes a subject’s oral fluid to determine if they have recently taken drugs.  Approved for use in Canada in July 2019, SoToxa will indicate within minutes whether a driver has recently consumed marijuana.

“Keeping people safe from drug-impaired drivers is an enormous responsibility,” said Chris Scoggins, senior vice president, Rapid Diagnostics, Abbott.  “Our aim is to lend our voice and expertise to this public health imperative and partner with law enforcement, policy experts, academics, victim advocates, and community leaders to keep the roadways safe.”

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Abbott commissioned unbiased, third-part vendor, Atomik Research to run an online survey of 1,002 adults in Canada.  Data were collected between June 21 and 28, 2019.

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