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Car accidents: How will legalizing marijuana affect road safety?

With a large number of commercial vehicles that travel all over the country, authorities in Ontario are considering their options in anticipation of the law that will legalize the use of marijuana in Canada in 2018. Feedback is currently sought from different groups involved in road safety in general. One focus is to prevent car accidents caused by truck drivers who are impaired by marijuana.

The president of the Ontario Trucking Association says that although drugs and alcohol are not considered a significant problem among truck drivers now, legalizing pot could change the situation. Both OTA and the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) have made it clear that they support a policy of zero-tolerance when it comes to marijuana impairment. The use of any drugs goes against the added responsibility of commercial truck drivers, and industry’s strong road safety commitment.

The OTA president notes that it will be up to the authorities to ensure that all the operators of commercial vehicles understand the zero-tolerance policies and are aware of the severe consequences violations will have. The Association and the province will work together to create policies for the testing for marijuana impairment. Guidelines will also be established for employers’ responsibilities to accommodate addicted drivers.

Both groups are of the opinion that commercial truckers are less likely to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol than drivers of passenger vehicles. However, Ontario authorities are also working on preventing marijuana-related car accidents by establishing regulations for noncommercial drivers that are similar to those currently in place for alcohol impairment. Anyone who is seriously injured by someone’s negligence, or has lost a loved one in such a manner, can speak to a personal injury lawyer about their legal rights and the options for legal recourse.

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