CAA Niagara – Media Statement
Thorold, ON (Aug. 14, 2018) – With just over two months until the recreational use of cannabis becomes legal, a new CAA Niagara survey shows 75 per cent of respondents are concerned about their safety on the road once the new law comes into force.
The survey of more than 500 CAA Niagara Members, conducted this spring, reveals 44 per cent are extremely concerned about road safety once cannabis is legalized, with 31 per cent somewhat concerned. In addition, 29 per cent of survey respondents think the issue of driving high is worse today than it was three years ago. Conversely, 64 per cent of respondents say that they are less concerned about people drinking alcohol and driving than they were three years ago.
“We have a responsibility to let Niagara know the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis,” says Peter Van Hezewyk, CAA Niagara’s President and CEO. “I know that most people understand that drinking and driving don’t mix, but now’s the time we start talking about cannabis, because driving high is driving impaired.” Today marks the launch of CAA Niagara’s multi-channel campaign designed to educate the public that driving high is driving impaired. The campaign includes:
- A vibrant pink cover of the August edition of CAA Niagara’s magazine and feature articles focusing on marijuana, which will be distributed to 85,000 CAA Niagara households
- More than 10,000 “Driving High is Driving Impaired” decals for cars, cellphones, laptops, etc. (available for pickup at any CAA Niagara Branch and at CAA community events)
- A street marketing campaign in partnership with Niagara Region Public Health’s youth lead advocacy group, REACT
- Humour-based social media videos and dedicated website pages
“One area of particular concern is the novelty, first-time cannabis users,” Mr. Van Hezewyk said. “They have
not experienced the effects of cannabis and should ensure they don’t mix cannabis and driving.”
“People deserve to know that cannabis affects the ability to think and drive for much longer than just a few hours,” says Dr. Andrea Feller, Niagara Region Public Health Associate Medical Officer of Health. “The impact of driving after consuming or smoking cannabis cannot be overstated – driving high is a gamble, with no chance for hitting the jackpot.”
“The Niagara Regional Police Service continues to be focused on education surrounding the dangers of, and the prevention of, impaired driving. With pending cannabis legalization, many new officers are receiving SFST training (standard field sobriety testing) and becoming DRE (Drug Recognition Experts) officers,” says Bryan MacCulloch, Niagara Region Police Service Chief. “We recognize that drug impaired driving is on the rise and is a major contributor to fatal road collisions. Whether drugs are smoked, inhaled, or ingested, drugs will affect your motor skills, slow your reaction time, decrease your ability to concentrate, affect your ability to make decisions and deal with unexpected hazards. Drug impaired driving is illegal and will not be tolerated.”
“As Canada’s leader in the cannabis industry and a proud member of the Niagara community, we join CAA Niagara in advancing this important message,” said Jordan Sinclair, Vice-President of Communications and Media, Canopy Growth. “Canopy Growth is proud to work with organizations across Canada supporting the education of Canadians and cannabis consumers on how to avoid driving impaired.”
CAA Niagara’s goal is to curb all forms of impaired driving and clear any public misconceptions about the effects of mixing driving and cannabis. In partnership with Aapex Driving Academy, Niagara Region Public Health and the Regional Niagara Road Safety Committee, events will be hosted throughout the region leading up the Oct. 17 legalization date.