UVic study tracks pot’s role in crashes

Researcher suggests data could have impact provincial regulations the way initial alcohol studies did

Crashes caused by drunk drivers are well documented, but the record is much hazier when it comes to tracking collisions caused when the driver is stoned.

The Centre for Addictions Research B.C. (CARBC) is launching Canada’s first study into the topic in hopes of determining the actual risk of smoking cannabis and driving. The study, co-authored by University of Victoria researcher Scott Macdonald, will be based on blood samples from as many as 3,000 drivers hospitalized after crashes across the province.

“We don’t know the actual risk involved at various levels of smoking pot,” Macdonald said. “If you smoke two joints, what is the risk of being in a crash and how much higher is it than if you’re sober?”

The study could impact impaired laws as much as past studies of alcohol and driving, Macdonald said.

nnorth@saanichnews.com