How Alberta Will Be Addressing Road Safety Following The Legalization of Marijuana

Not all residents of Alberta welcome the legalization of marijuana. Some have expressed concerns that the increased use of marijuana could lead to an increase in the number of accidents on the road. Are their concerns justified?

Marijuana’s effect on the body

Statistics suggest that any increase in motor vehicle accidents (if it occurs) should get barely noticed. Someone that is high on pot faces a 1 to 3 times greater risk for involvement in a collision. For an intoxicated driver, that risk rises to 20 to 200 times, over the chance accepted by an average driver.

That does not mean that the smoking of pot has no noticeable effect on the human body. There are several ways that a motorist could be impaired, if he or she had enjoyed a marijuana-induced high shortly before sitting behind a steering wheel. A driver that has recently enjoyed such a high might have to deal with a delayed reaction time, a reduced level of concentration, focus and attention, diminished functioning of a short-term memory, or a reduced level of coordination.

Alberta’s plans

In light of the available statistics, authorities in Alberta have made some changes, which should work to keep Alberta’s roads as safe as possible. One change has been in the requirements listed for progress in the Graduated Driver Licensing program. Progress in that Program can only be experienced by those drivers that have remained free of both alcohol and cannabis, whenever their blood got tested.

In addition, Alberta plans to put sanctions on any tested drivers that had a blood drug concentration in excess of the amount stated in the Criminal Code of Canada. Those sanctions will showcase the authorities’ response to a violation of the Code.

Possible responses

• Suspension of driver’s license
• Seizure of driver’s vehicle (if driver owned vehicle in which crime was committed).
• Demanding that the driver attend a class on a remedial review of Alberta’s traffic laws

Another approach that should keep drivers in a marijuana-induced high off the roads

A personal injury lawyer in Sherwood Park knows that if someone under marijuana’s influence gets behind the steering wheel of a motored vehicle and then causes an accident, he or she could be forced to deal with more than criminal charges. That same person might also need to face a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the extent of the accident-caused damages, such a lawsuit might lead to a demand for payment of punitive damages.

Findings that indicate the adequacy of the proposed changes

Findings from California suggest that Alberta’s limited changes should prove adequate, once traffic authorities enforce them. This past year, Californians have not taken advantage of pot’s increased availability at the rate that had been anticipated by concerned members of the public.