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CAA Launches Intoxicated Driving Awareness Campaign

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How to Talk to a Friend about Drunk Driving
Photo: Daniel Olnes

When you think of intoxicated driving, you probably picture a driver who’s consumed alcohol. However, the Canadian Automobile Association wants to inform the public that there are other forms of driving under the influence — such as getting behind the wheel after snacking on cannabis edibles. Here’s a look at the association’s new awareness campaign.

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“Do Anything But Drive”

The new safety campaign, dubbed “Do Anything But Drive,” takes a lighthearted approach to warning about the dangers of driving under the influence. It features a series of eight ads, each of which feature ways for drivers to plan ahead to stay safe after consuming edibles. These include ridesharing, staying home, staying with a friend, or designating a driver.

Last fall, Canada legalized recreational cannabis edibles. Since edibles are fairly new, many drivers don’t fully understand their impact on the body — and how they can impair driving. However, safety experts warn that edibles behave differently in the body than alcohol and other intoxicants.

Those effects go beyond silly stoner brain farts and rampant munchies. According to Jeff Walker, the President and CEO of CAA North and East Ontario, “Cannabis consumption delays your reaction time, putting yourself and others on the road at greater risk for collisions, which can be deadly, while cannabis edibles can produce stronger, different and longer reactions. It’s simply not safe to drive after consuming them.”

Weeding out misconceptions about edibles

girl driving teen driver
Many young drivers could use more education about the impacts of edibles

Public health officials warn that cannabis edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to have an impact on your body. It can even take as long as four hours to feel the full effect on your system. And once it’s in your body, it sticks around for up to 12 hours. In other words, to stay safe on the road, drivers have to do some planning before they partake.

Many young drivers underestimate the dangers of driving while high, according to a study by the CAA. According to a poll, about half of young drivers think it’s safe to drive just five hours after chowing down on some edibles, despite medical data proving otherwise. But the misconceptions don’t stop there — roughly 12 percent of those surveyed believed that their driving was improved or unaltered by cannabis-infused treats.

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Want to learn more? You can check out the full series of ads on the CAA YouTube channel.