Woman driver starting the car

What is impaired driving?

Impaired driving is the act of operating or having care of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to the degree that mental and motor skills are impaired.

Who does impaired driving affect?

Studies have shown that immaturity and inexperience are leading factors as to why young people are overrepresented in impaired driving incidents. Although young people are the least likely to drive impaired, the ones who do are at very high risk of collision. Impaired drivers not only put themselves at risk of accident or death they put other drivers and pedestrians at risk as well.

What is considered a motorized vehicle?

A common misconception is that you will only be arrested and/or ticked for operating a motorized car or truck while driving impaired. Other motorized vehicles include boats, ATV’s, motorcycles and snowmobiles. 

Effects of cannabis while driving

The active ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), travels through your body and into your brain, affecting the brain cells and creating a high. Though the severity and length of these effects vary whether cannabis is inhaled, ingested or applied through topicals, the reality is that driving while under the influence of cannabis can affect your:

  • Coordination
  • Ability to concentrate and judge distances
  • Reaction Time
  • Decision-Making Abilities

Our message is simple – Don’t drive impaired. This includes cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles. 

Marijuana and gummy bears together
A police officer stands next to a car he pulled over for speeding, reaching for the driver's ID.

Penalties for impaired driving

In Ontario, it is illegal to operate any type of motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If police determine that you are driving while impaired you will face penalties immediately, which can include a loss of licence, vehicle impoundment, monetary fines and many more once convicted.

There is a zero-tolerance approach for alcohol and cannabis for young, novice and commercial drivers.

Find an alternative ride

Driving high is driving impaired. Reduce your risk on the road by finding an alternative ride home, such as a designated driver, public transit, CAA, or a cab or ride-share.

Have a designated driver
Assign a designated driver before your evening or event begins.
Call a cab, rideshare or take public transit
Call a cab, rideshare or take public transit.
Call a friend or loved one
Call a friend, loved one, or take advantage of CAA's Drive You Home Program.

Additional resources

Niagara Region Public Health: Cannabis Resources

Cannabis is the second most commonly used drug among secondary students. Learn more about the potential effects of using cannabis.

Learn More
Impaired Driving Laws in Canada

The Criminal Code prohibits driving while impaired to any degree by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. Note that additional provincial laws or regulations may apply.

Learn More
Drug-Free Kids Canada: Cannabis Talk Kit

Learn how to speak openly with your teen about Cannabis, including the short and long-term effects on the teen brain.

Learn More