The study also found that between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of alcohol-related traffic deaths in Canada dropped.
According to TIRF’s National Fatality Database, in 2000, almost 35% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol compared to 12% who tested positive for marijuana.
By 2014, the percentage of alcohol-related traffic deaths had declined to 28%, whereas it had increased to almost 19% for marijuana.
The report notes that “results vary greatly by age,” but it found pot was the drug most commonly detected in deceased drivers aged 16 to 19 and 20 to 34 years old (29.8% and 27.2% respectively).
“What we see is an increasing percentage of fatally injured drivers in Canada who tested positive for marijuana in recent years whereas the percentage who tested positive for alcohol is decreasing,” said Dr. Woods-Fry, a research associate with TIRF.
“While the percent is still higher for alcohol today, if current trends continue, marijuana might become more prevalent among fatally injured drivers.”
Weekday, weekend, night weed-related fatalities
With the impending legalization of recreational weed sales in Canada set to take place next summer, the report also took a look at when these crashes occurred.
It found that the time of day and day of the week play a lesser role in predicting the presence of marijuana among fatally injured drivers compared to alcohol.
Robyn Robertson, President & CEO of TIRF, said 21% of drivers dying in weekend crashes tested positive for marijuana versus 17% in weekday crashes.
“In comparison, 46% of fatally injured drivers in weekend crashes tested positive for alcohol versus 26% in weekday crashes,” said Robertson.
The report is based on data from TIRF’s National Fatality Database, which is maintained with financial support from State Farm® and the Public Health Agency of Canada.