This release was issued under a previous government.

Impaired Checkstop Poster

Few drivers are aware of the penalties for drugged driving and may believe alcohol-impaired drivers are more likely to be stopped by police than drug-impaired drivers.

“It comes as a surprise to many people that drunk driving and drugged driving carry the same criminal charges. This is because both substances impair a driver’s ability and increase the likelihood of being involved in a collision.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

“Impaired driving is Canada’s leading cause of criminal death in Canada. The number of drugs present in motor vehicle fatalities in Canada continues to grow. It is absolutely essential that when you are using drugs that you not drive and create that risk of death or injury to yourself or others.”

Andrew Murie, CEO MADD Canada

Impaired Driving Facts

  • The Traffic Injury Research Foundation determined that in Canada during 2012, drugs were detected in 40 per cent of fatally injured drivers.
  • Alberta is slightly above the national average at 41 per cent. This represents 82 drivers who were killed in collisions during 2012 who tested positive for drugs. For perspective, 71 fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol during that same year. Of those, 34 had both alcohol and drugs in their system.
  • Anything that impairs your ability to drive – alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal – may result in an impaired driving charge.
  • Mixing alcohol and drugs of any sort is also a concern. Combining impairing substances has major risks. Always use substances responsibly.  
  • According to a study done by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, cannabis creates performance deficits in many skills required to drive safely, such as tracking, reaction time, visual function, concentration, short-term memory and divided attention. 
  • Studies of driving performance (both simulated and on-road) show increased likelihood to swerve, following distance, and speed as a function of cannabis use.
  • In the 2014 driver attitude survey, seven in 10 Albertans agreed that too many people are driving under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.
  • The 2014 Driver Attitude Survey also noted only 55 per cent of Albertans make other driving arrangements when they have taken drugs which can affect their ability to drive.