TIRF opens new drug impaired focused centre

Published: September 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Companies and organizations are reacting to Ontario’s recently announced zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving across several motorist classes. Ottawa-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) has collaborated with State Farm Canada to create a new Drug-Impaired Driving Learning Centre (DIDLC).

On Monday, the Government of Ontario said it will introduce new legislation this fall that will introduce a zero-tolerance approach to drug impaired driving ahead of the federal government’s plans to legalize cannabis by July 2018.

The TIRF and State Farm centre was launched on Tuesday as a web-based resource that gives users the ability to share research about drug driving. The centre will also raise awareness about developments around marijuana legalization.

TIRF says it wants to help local authorities reduce the levels of drug-impaired driving, which are expected to increase after cannabis is available recreationally. The new resource is called www.druggeddriving.tirf.ca, features the following modules: the problem, the effects of drugs on driving, laws & penalties, tools & technologies and prevention & education.

“Increases in the proportion of drivers who self-report driving within two hours of consuming drugs, combined with increases in the proportion of drivers killed in road crashes who tested positive for drugs, warrant attention and concern,” the release said. “Public awareness of the impairing effects of many drugs is quite low, and strategies to reduce the prevalence of this problem are much needed.”

“More public awareness and education about the impacts of drug-impaired driving are essential to combatting its consequences,” said John Bordignon, Media Relations State Farm Canada. “Recent State Farm surveys reveal about half of cannabis users that drive feel the drug does not negatively affect their ability to operate a motor vehicle. With impending legalization of recreational marijuana and the opioid crisis in parts of Canada, a factual, publicly available resource like the DIDLC is a valuable tool that can help prevent injury and save lives.”

Robyn Robertson, president and CEO of TIRF, says how drugs affect driving is more difficult to assess compared to drink and the science is not equal. “The multitude and diversity of legal and illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications that can impair driving is substantial,” she said. “Moreover, the impairing effects of some drugs may vary based on user characteristics and the conditions under which drugs are consumed.”