Four in Ten (40%) Ontario Drivers Who Use Marijuana Have Driven a Vehicle While Under the Influence

Two in Three Drivers Think Marijuana-Impaired Driving Will Increase in Frequency After Legalization

Four in Ten (40%) Ontario Drivers Who Use Marijuana Have Driven a Vehicle While Under the Influence

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs
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Toronto, Ontario, September 18, 2017 — Four in ten (40%) Ontario drivers who use marijuana have operated a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, a new Ipsos survey has found. The poll, for CAA South Central Ontario, asked Ontarians who are licensed to drive about their driving habits and perceptions ahead of a new road safety plan rolled out in Ontario and the planned Canada-wide legalization of marijuana next summer. While current marijuana users are the most likely to have tried driving a car after smoking or ingesting marijuana, this still adds up to more than one in ten Ontario drivers overall (12%).

Driving under the influence of marijuana is widely seen as likely to increase in frequency following legalization. A majority of Ontario drivers – two in three (66%) think marijuana-impaired driving will occur more often (35% much more / 31% somewhat more) once marijuana is legalized in Canada. This point of view is more pronounced among non-users (75%) than among current marijuana users (44%). Ontario drivers also believe that once legalization is in place, marijuana-impaired driving will cause more collisions than either driving under the influence of alcohol (net 16% more) or distracted driving (net 11% more).

For a majority of Ontario drivers, marijuana-impaired driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol (71%), driving while distracted (71%), or impaired by narcotics or opioids (65%). Non-users are significantly more likely than current marijuana users to see the level of danger as being equal, but even among current users, half (49%) think marijuana-impaired driving is as dangerous as distracted driving, four in ten (41%) think it’s as dangerous as driving while drunk, and more than one in three (36%) see it as equally dangerous to driving after taking narcotics or opioids.

Most Ontario drivers aren’t familiar with the current fines or penalties for marijuana-impaired driving in the province. Only two in ten (20%) consider themselves familiar with the fines or penalties they could incur (4% very / 16% somewhat), while eight in ten (80%) are unfamiliar (50% very / 30% somewhat). Even among current marijuana users, familiarity with fines and penalties rises to just 34%.

As such, it isn’t surprising that education and public awareness top the list of ideas when it comes to the best way to prevent marijuana-impaired driving. Two in ten Ontario drivers (17%) think education is the best way forward, while stricter/stronger penalties (14%), not legalizing marijuana (10%), and large fines (10%) are thought best by one in ten.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 3 and August 9, 2017, on behalf of CAA South Central Ontario. For this survey, a sample of 1,0001 licensed Ontario drivers aged 18+ from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all licensed Ontario drivers been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2002


About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014


The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs