Nearly 1.9 million motorists in Ontario, Canada, were found driving under the influence of cannabis, according to a report issued by CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO).

The study was commissioned by CAA and carried out by Ipsos in July. It revealed that over 735,000 motorists had driven under the influence of cannabis in Ontario in the last three months.

Nearly 1,000 Ontario drivers aged 19 and above who own, lease or use a vehicle with a valid driver’s license participated in the study.

CAA’s research shows that 205,800 ‘poly-users’ in Ontario accepted that they have consumed alcohol and used cannabis before driving during the last three months.

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The study further reveals that the Ontarians who drove a car after taking cannabis and alcohol tended to do so for social gatherings and at bars, clubs, or pubs.

“Male motorists aged 25 to 34 (69%) and novice drivers (39%) were found the most likely to have driven under the influence of cannabis.”

CAA SCO government relations manager Elliott Silverstein said: “Road safety needs to be prioritised as a leading issue as cannabis becomes legal in the coming weeks, but it’s clear that the focus can’t solely be on cannabis-impaired driving.

“We need to take an integrated view of the dangerous behaviours that impact road safety in Ontario and focus public education and enforcement efforts accordingly.”

Male motorists aged 25 to 34 (69%) and novice drivers (39%) were found the most likely to have driven under the influence of cannabis.

Silverstein further added: “The fact that those who drive under the influence of cannabis are most likely to be young, novice drivers with less experience on the road is something that we should all be concerned about.”

It is believed there will be up to 57% more cannabis impaired drivers on the road following its legalisation. More than half (52%) feel that they drive worse than a sober driver when under the influence of cannabis.

To encourage safe driving, nearly 60% of Ontario drivers surveyed supported investments in public education campaigns, while three out of four supported strong fines and penalties for drug-impaired driving.