Cannabis Road Safety – Insurance Bureau of Canada

With the legalization of cannabis, the majority of Canadians are concerned about cannabis-impaired drivers on the road. A recent poll conducted by Leger on behalf of Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) found that 84% of Canadians believe that driving while high poses a real risk to road safety.

Impaired driving due to alcohol consumption has become taboo, but the same can’t be assumed for impaired driving due to cannabis use.  Appropriate penalties and detection tools are necessary to discourage all forms of impaired driving so that the legalization of cannabis doesn’t put public safety at risk.

The poll found that:

  • 78% of Canadians are concerned about cannabis-impaired drivers on the road once cannabis becomes legal.
  • 84% of Canadians believe that driving while high poses a real risk.
  • 70% of Canadians believe that driving while high is as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol.
  • 43% of Canadians stated that they do not know how long to wait before it is safe to drive once they have consumed cannabis.
  • 61% of Canadian cannabis users believe it’s safe to wait less than three hours after consuming cannabis to drive.
  • 62% of Canadian cannabis users have either driven or been a passenger in a car where the driver had recently consumed cannabis.
  • 60% of Canadians believe that police will use a cannabis-impairment test equivalent to the breathalyzer.

Drivers need to treat cannabis like alcohol and recognize that driving under the influence of cannabis is the same as driving drunk. Impaired driving is dangerous and should be taboo – regardless of the substance consumed.​


Legalizing recreational marijuana linked to increased crashes: U.S. Highway Loss Data Institute

Something to expect in Canada?

Legalizing recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Oregon and Washington has resulted in collision claim frequencies that are about 3% higher overall than would have been expected without legalization, according to a new analysis from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

HLDI, part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), reported in a statement on Thursday that it conducted a combined analysis using neighbouring states as additional controls to examine the collision claims experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington before and after law changes. Control states included Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, plus Colorado, Oregon and Washington prior to legalization of recreational use, the statement said. During the study period, Nevada and Montana permitted medical use of marijuana, Wyoming and Utah allowed only limited use for medical purposes, and Idaho didn’t permit any use. Oregon and Washington authorized medical marijuana use in 1998, and Colorado authorized it in 2000.

HLDI also looked at loss results for each state individually compared with loss results for adjacent states without legalized recreational marijuana use prior to November 2016.

Data spanned collision claims filed between January 2012 and October 2016 for 1981 to 2017 model vehicles. Analysts controlled for differences in the rated driver population, insured vehicle fleet, the mix of urban versus rural exposure, unemployment, weather and seasonality.

HLDI noted that that collision claims are the most frequent kind of claims insurers receive. Collision coverage insures against physical damage to a driver’s vehicle in a crash with an object or other vehicle, generally when the driver is at fault. Collision claim frequency is the number of collision claims divided by the number of insured vehicle years (one vehicle insured for one year or two vehicles insured for six months each).

“The combined-state analysis shows that the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana have experienced more crashes,” said Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI, in the statement. “The individual state analyses suggest that the size of the effect varies by state.”

Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana for adults age 21 and older, with voter approval in November 2012, HLDI reported. Retail sales began in January 2014 in Colorado and in July 2014 in Washington. Oregon voters approved legalized recreational marijuana in November 2014, and sales started in October 2015.

According to the data, Colorado saw the biggest estimated increase in claim frequency compared with its control states. After retail marijuana sales began in Colorado, the increase in collision claim frequency was 14% higher than in nearby Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming. Washington’s estimated increase in claim frequency was 6% higher than in Montana and Idaho, and Oregon’s estimated increase in claim frequency was 4% higher than in Idaho, Montana and Nevada.

“The combined effect for the three states was smaller but still significant at 3 per cent,” Moore said in the statement. “The combined analysis uses a bigger control group and is a good representation of the effect of marijuana legalization overall. The single-state analyses show how the effect differs by state.”

Each of the individual state analyses also showed that the estimated effect of legalizing recreational use of marijuana varies depending on the comparison state examined. For example, results for Colorado vary from a 3% increase in claim frequency when compared with Wyoming to a 21% increase when compared with Utah.

HLDI’s new analysis of real-world crashes provides one look at the emerging picture of what marijuana’s legalization will mean for highway safety as more states decriminalize its use, the statement suggested. As HLDI continues to examine insurance claims in states that allow recreational use of marijuana, IIHS has begun a large-scale case-control study in Oregon to assess how legalized marijuana use may be changing the risk of crashes with injuries. Preliminary results are expected in 2020.

In addition to Colorado, Oregon and Washington, five other states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for all uses, and 21 states have comprehensive medical marijuana programs as of June. An additional 17 states permit limited access for medical use. Marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under federal law, the statement pointed out.

“Worry that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates isn’t misplaced,” said David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer of IIHS. “HLDI’s findings on the early experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause.”

HLDI notes that more drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes. Though there is evidence from simulator and on-road studies that marijuana can degrade some aspects of driving performance, researchers haven’t been able to definitively connect marijuana use with more frequent real-world crashes. Some studies have found that using the drug could more than double crash risk, while others, including a large-scale federal case-control study, have failed to find a link between marijuana use and crashes. Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use also have been inconclusive.

This is HLDI’s first report on how marijuana legalization since 2014 has affected crashes reported to insurers.


How to get your house — and yard — ready for cooler weather.

The nights will soon get colder and the days, noticeably shorter. The kids will be back at school, and the leaves will start to show signs of fall colour. Before that happens, there are a few things you

Do a fall cleaning. While it’s still warm enough to keep the windows open, shampoo your carpets and give your home the once over. If you’re planning on painting or doing any minor renovations that will create dust, try to do it now. Indoor air quality is the worst in winter so a good scrub will help you breathe easy.

It’s a good time to do a little landscaping. Grass and tree roots are burrowing deeper to get ready for the big sleep, so now is a great time to seed and fertilize. Trim trees and bushes away from the house, as well as any larger limbs that could potentially break under heavy snow and cause expensive damage. Ensure that the grading will direct excess water away from your foundation — it’s an important step that will prepare you for the spring thaw and avoid costly foundation or basement damage.

Spring and fall are perfect times to poke your head into the attic. Make sure animals haven’t taken up residence and inspect the insulation. Make sure the soffits aren’t covered and that you have good airflow into the attic to avoid ice dams. Ice dams occur when warm moist air rising from your home causes ice and snow on the roof to melt, where it runs down and refreezes above the unheated areas (soffits) of the roof. The end result is water backing up under your shingles, causing damage to them and the roof framing.

As we head into colder weather, we tend to batten down the hatches and crank up the heat. It’s a good idea to have an HVAC professional come by to shut down the air conditioner and check the furnace to make sure everything’s in working order. You’ll want to change all of your air filters and clean any dust and debris out of your ducts.

Chances are your windows will be closed for six or seven months in the colder seasons, which means indoor air quality will suffer unless you have an HRV and secondary air filters in your system. If you have a humidifier built into your system, you’ll want to clean and test it — you want about 40 per cent humidity in your home in the winter to reduce condensation on windows and other cold surfaces, and to keep you healthy.

If you have a fireplace (specifically a wood-burning fireplace), inspect the damper and ensure you have a good seal to stop heat loss when it’s not in use. Have a professional check and clean the chimney if necessary, to avoid excess creosote build-up — a dangerous fire hazard.