Canada’s 2019 National Road Safety Week takes place May 14 – 20 and Canada Safety Council is using the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.

According to Statistics Canada, 72,039 impaired driving incidents were reported in 2015, representing a rate of 201 incidents per 100,000 population. This is the lowest rate since impaired driving statistics began being collected in 1986; however, impaired driving continues to be the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.

Canada Safety Council highlights the differences between drunk drivers and those impaired by drugs, stating that a drunk driver may feel more compelled to take risks, speed and generally act recklessly, and may also experience decreased concentration, slower reaction times and an altered sense of vision and hearing. Cannabis users, however, will leave more space between themselves and the next vehicle, while also driving at slower speeds. The Council states that the danger lies in a high driver’s unpredictable nature – for instance, a cannabis-impaired driver may stay stopped at a stop sign or light for longer than expected.

The Council’s advice is: “Don’t take the risk. If you’re driving, stay sober. If you had intended on driving but over-consumed, leave the car parked. Sleep it off if you can, or get a ride home from a friend, a family member, a taxi, a ride-share or an alternate means of transportation. But whatever you do, do not get behind the wheel. It’s every Canadian’s responsibility to keep our roads safe for everyone.”