Drug impairment

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Drugs come in many forms and have a wide range of possible side effects that may impair your ability to drive and increase the likelihood of a collision. Driving while impaired by drugs, including prescription and non-prescription medications, is illegal in Canada. Drivers found guilty of drug-impaired driving face the same penalties as those convicted of alcohol-impaired driving.

Cannabis

Cannabis use compromises reaction time and the ability to make safe decisions on the road. While cannabis is now legal to use in Canada, it is illegal to drive if you’re impaired by THC. It’s also illegal to:

  • Consume cannabis in or on a vehicle while on a public roadway, whether the vehicle is in motion or not.
  • Transport cannabis in or on a vehicle, unless stored in a secure compartment such as your vehicle’s trunk.

Drivers convicted of these offences will move down on the DSR scale. Please use responsibly. Learn more about the dangers of driving after using cannabis.

Prescription drugs

It’s important to understand how your prescribed medications affect your ability to drive. If you drive while impaired by prescribed medication, you can be charged with impaired driving. Discuss the possible effects of any medication with your doctor or pharmacist. Learn more.

Illegal drugs

Illicit drugs are harmful and dangerous. They may cause hallucinations, hostility and aggressiveness in addition to dulling normal thought processes and impairing motor skills. If you are found to be driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, you will be charged with impaired driving and may face other severe consequences. Learn more about the effects of drugs.

Mixing drugs and alcohol

It’s important to note that combining drugs and alcohol can amplify the effect of each substance, even in small quantities. If you mix drugs with alcohol, do not drive.

The penalties of driving high

In the eyes of the law, drug-impaired driving is the same criminal offence as alcohol-impaired driving. In Manitoba, all drivers suspected by police of being under the influence of any drug can receive an immediate 24-hour roadside licence suspension.

If you fail a drug recognition evaluation, you are subject to an immediate Tiered Administrative Licence Suspension, which ranges from 72 hours to 60 days. You can face more severe penalties, depending on the amount of drugs in your system. See more information on the penalties you can face for driving under the influence of drugs.

If you take any drugs, including cannabis or prescription medication, don’t drive. Plan ahead to get home safely. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please visit the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba website.

Studies and additional information

Drug Impaired Driving Learning Centre

The Drug Impaired Driving Resource Centre is a web-based educational resource developed by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation to support the work of governments and road safety partners by sharing current knowledge about research and practice, and increasing awareness about drug-impaired driving.

Road Safety Monitor – Drugged Driving

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) provides evidence-based knowledge that leads to smarter policies in preventing injuries and loss of life on roads and highways worldwide.

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction – Health and Public Safety

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) was created by Parliament to provide national leadership to address substance use in Canada.

Drug Free Kids Canada

Educating parents and youth about substance use.