1 in 10 Manitoba drivers test positive for meth, marijuana, other drugs

1 in 10 Manitoba drivers test positive for meth, marijuana, other drugs

  • Based on cheek swab and breathalyzer samples collected voluntarily from drivers in September, MPI found 124 people out of the 1,230 drivers who participated were driving under the influence of a drug.
  • “At 10 per cent, the prevalence of drugs in the tested drivers is significantly more common and extremely concerning,” said Ward Keith, a vice-president of Manitoba Public Insurance.
  • According to MPI, 53 per cent of drivers testing positive for drugs had cannabis in their system, 31 per cent had cocaine, 12 per cent had opioids and two per cent tested positive for benzodiazepines (a class of drugs that includes Valium) and amphetamines (a common treatment for ADHD) or methamphetamines (commonly known as meth or crystal meth).
  • Of the drivers who tested positive, 22 per cent had more than one drug in their system.
  • In the latest data on the subject, collected in 2013, about 40 per cent of drivers killed in road collisions who were tested had drugs in their system.

Manitoba Public Insurance says it is extremely concerned about the number of drivers who are operating vehicles under the influence of drugs.

@CBCManitoba: 1 in 10 Manitoba drivers test positive for meth, marijuana, other drugs

Manitoba Public Insurance says it is extremely concerned about the number of drivers who are operating vehicles under the influence of drugs.

Based on cheek swab and breathalyzer samples collected voluntarily from drivers in September, MPI found 124 people out of the 1,230 drivers who participated were driving under the influence of a drug.

Prairie Research Associates was contracted by Manitoba Public Insurance to collect data for the roadside survey and the samples were destroyed after testing.

That ratio works out to 10 per cent of drivers, significantly higher than the presence of alcohol in drivers.

Only 2.4 per cent of drivers had a blood alcohol concentration greater than nil, MPI found in the same survey.

“At 10 per cent, the prevalence of drugs in the tested drivers is significantly more common and extremely concerning,” said Ward Keith, a vice-president of Manitoba Public Insurance.

According to MPI, 53 per cent of drivers testing positive for drugs had cannabis in their system, 31 per cent had cocaine, 12 per cent had opioids and two per cent tested positive for benzodiazepines (a class of drugs that includes Valium) and amphetamines (a common treatment for ADHD) or methamphetamines (commonly known as meth or crystal meth).

Of the drivers who tested positive, 22 per cent had more than one drug in their system.

Keith said some of the drugs could be prescribed by a doctor but that doesn’t mean drivers should be taking them before they get behind a wheel.

“When people are on prescription medication, they do need to be aware of the extent to which that may make them drowsy,” he said.

The results of the survey don’t necessarily tell MPI the level of drug impairment, Keith said.

The Crown corporation did find 62 per cent of drivers who tested positive for marijuana had 10 nanograms or more in their system, Keith said, which is enough to impair driving.

Crash rates increase when drugs affect drivers behind the wheel, MPI says.

In the latest data on the subject, collected in 2013, about 40 per cent of drivers killed in road collisions who were tested had drugs in their system.

1 in 10 Manitoba drivers test positive for meth, marijuana, other drugs

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