27TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE 43 HIGH DRIVING IS ABOUT TO OVERTAKE DRINKING AND DRIVING. A significant proportion of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drug use and levels were close to those of alcohol across Canada. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two is extremely dangerous. Young drivers and their friends who are passengers in the car, need to know that a driver's capabilities to drive safely after having smoked pot or taken prescription drugs can be seriously impaired. 16-24 year olds have the highest fatality rate for both alcohol and drugs. Drivers between 16–24 years old account for most driver fatality cases; they also happen to be the group containing the largest proportion of drinking-driver fatalities (27.6%) and drug-positive driver fatalities (26.9%). Nearly one third of teens (30%) did not consider driving under the influence of cannabis to be as bad as alcohol. While there is a clear understanding of the dangers of drunk driving by drivers of all ages, things are not so clear when it comes to the issue of driving under the influence of drugs like cannabis. Studies continue to show that there is a significant percentage (30%) of young people of driving age who either strongly agree or agree that using cannabis before driving is not as risky as drinking and driving. Too many young people remain unaware that driving while under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs like cannabis can seriously affect their driving capabilities. AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED URGENTLY. Among young drivers, the high driving problem is rapidly becoming comparable to the drunkdriving problem. Results of alcohol and drug tests performed on drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2008 in Canada reveal that 37% were positive for drugs compared to 41% that tested positive for alcohol. One in four high school seniors have gotten into a car with a high driver. The likelihood of riding in a vehicle with a driver who had been using drugs significantly increases with school grade level. Relaxed attitudes towards drugged driving are a part of the problem. It’s just not considered as dangerous as drunk driving, neither by teenagers nor their parents. There continues to be a clear misunderstanding that it can be a dangerous thing. Nearly one in five parents of teenagers do not consider driving while high on cannabis to be as bad as drinking and driving. That being said, a significant number of parents DO understand that driving while on drugs is as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol. 81% of parents strongly/somewhat agree that driving while high on cannabis is as risky as drinking and driving. Parents can make a big difference in the lives of young drivers by staying informed about the issue and talking to their teens. Conversations about risky behaviour like driving while high and being a passenger in the car with a high driver are important to have on a regular basis. DISTURBING FACTS