Major bus, taxi, and rideshare companies in Calgary have no plans to randomly test their drivers for cannabis impairment in anticipation of legalization, because they feel it isn’t warranted.
Alarming as this position may seem, it’s backed up by the realization that legalization won’t mean an increase in stoned drivers, according to Rebecca Haines-Saah, an assistant professor with the University of Calgary.
“I would never be one to endorse impaired driving, but I think there’s a great deal of panic about an increased number of high drivers on the road, and I haven’t seen compelling evidence towards that,” Haines-Saah said.
She pointed to a recent report by Statistics Canada which suggests more than a million Canadians have been in a car with a driver who’d used cannabis within the last two hours. It also noted around one in seven cannabis users with driver’s licences had admitted to driving within two hours of using cannabis within the last three months.
“This is already happening,” she said. In fact, she suggested people who start using cannabis after it is legalized are more likely to be cautious about impairment than those who have used regularly.
Two of Calgary’s major taxi companies said cab drivers driving drunk or high aren’t a concern for them, mainly because the consequences for doing so are immediate and final if they’re caught by their bosses.
Jeff Garland, general manager at Associated Cabs, said in his 37 years working for the company, he’s only heard of two cases where drivers were pulled over and charged with impaired driving. Both were fired. Prospective drivers can’t even have past charges on their record when they apply to work for the company.
“I think everyone is thinking about it, but we have a zero-tolerance policy for substances that impair your driving,” Garland said.