Cannabis and Driving: A Review Of Current Evidence
Keywords: Drink/Drug Driving
Submission Date: 2001
There is currently much debate in the road safety and wider communities concerning the extent to which licit and illicit drugs are a road safety problem. Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Victoria, and is being used by a growing proportion of the population, particularly younger people. Contrary to data from the early to mid- 1990s, recent Victorian crash data suggest that cannabis does elevate crash risk. It is therefore timely to draw together the international literature in regard to the issues around cannabis use and road safety.
This paper is based on a report that is currently being prepared for the baseline sponsors of MUARC. The full report reviews the key issues concerning cannabis and road safety, including: patterns of cannabis use in the population; the prevalence of cannabis in the driver population, drivers suspected of driving under the influence, and drivers killed or injured; effects on simulator and on-road driving; detecting cannabis use in bodily samples; and measuring impairment using performance tests such as the Standardised Field Sobriety Test. The report highlights the current gaps in knowledge and documents the specific areas of research that need to be pursued in future studies in order to move closer to resolving the issue about whether (and how) cannabis influences driving skills. This paper summarises the key themes that emerge from the full report.