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Drug impairment more prevalent than alcohol in car accidents

The fact that cannabis use is no longer against the law in Ontario does not remove the dangers that come along with its use by operators of motor vehicles. Safety authorities say positive drug tests exceed the number of positive alcohol tests in deceased victims of car accidents. Although no roadside test for drug impairment exists currently, Drug Recognition Experts and specially trained police officers can detect it -- with potentially dire consequences for the driver.

Parents are advised to communicate with their teenagers to prepare them for the dangers of driving while impaired. The effects of cannabis on people vary, depending on the quantity consumed and whether it was ingested, inhaled or smoked. The level of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) can make a difference in the effect it has on the user, and this also applies to medical marijuana. Due to these variables, there is nothing to determine the amount of cannabis that can be consumed before becoming impaired.

Increased crash risks exist even with limited use of cannabis because it affects a driver's motor skills and slows down reactions. Authorities say marijuana impairs concentration and short-term memory, causing drivers to drift across the road at varying speeds. It also prevents drivers from making quick decisions in emergencies in the same way as other drugs like cocaine or even prescription drugs.

Impaired drivers threaten their own lives, the safety of their passengers and other road users whether in motor vehicles, on bicycles or on foot. Victims of such car accidents -- or the surviving family members of those who lose their lives -- will be entitled to seek financial recovery for damages through the Ontario civil justice system. Although this is a complicated field of the law, an experienced personal injury lawyer can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings.

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