Feeling the effects of cannabis legalization, Nez Rouge expects more calls than ever for free rides this holiday season
Published Sunday, November 25, 2018 5:29PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 25, 2018 5:48PM EST
Since 1984, Nez Rouge has given thousands of free rides to Quebecers who are celebrating the holidays and had too much alcohol to drive.
This year, thanks to the new legislation that has made cannabis legal in Canada, the organization is anticipating demand for its services to be higher than ever before.
“We rely on volunteers and it’s especially important they sign up, especially with the legalization of cannabis,” said David Latouche of Nez Rouge.
The service is available, no questions asked, to anyone who feels that they cannot drive.
Early data shows that there hasn’t been a spike in impaired driving arrests after the legalization of marijuana.
Still, experts say that cannabis’ effects on motor activity are significant.
“They affect depth perception, speed perception, and decision making,” said Theresa-Anne Kramer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
2017 was wasn't good for Montreal when it comes to impaired driving.
It saw a five-year high for the number of arrests for impaired driving, 33 percent more accidents that resulted in injury, and two fatalities.
A recent study conducted by McGill University showed that stoned drivers are significantly more at risk of having an accident, and remain impaired for up to five hours after consumption.
“We did see the participants in a different task had slower reaction time and weren’t precise in their actions,” said Dr. Isabelle Gelinas, a co-author in the study.
Quebec has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who have any detectable amount of cannabis in their system.
If caught, a driver will have an immediate 90-day suspension of their license.
Nez Rouge is available every night until Jan. 1.