Almost half of weed-smoking Canadian drivers say that they can safely operate a vehicle while stoned, according to a recent report by State Farm. (Chris Roussakis, AFP/Getty Images)

In Canada, some drivers dismiss danger of being high behind wheel

Nearly half of weed-smoking Canadian drivers think they can operate a vehicle while stoned, recent State Farm report says

Almost half of weed-smoking Canadian drivers say that they can safely operate a vehicle while stoned.

Among Canadians who have driven under the influence of marijuana, 44 percent don’t think it affects their ability to drive safely, according to a recent report by State Farm. That compares with 42 percent who acknowledge a difference and 14 percent who don’t know.

Insurers have been highlighting the risks of marijuana as legal restrictions ease and cultural norms shift, especially among youth. Liberty Mutual Holding Co. and a safety group said in 2013 that most teenagers who drove under the influence of the drug said it either improved their performance behind the wheel or was no hindrance. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize the substance.

“We know marijuana impairs judgment and reaction time,” John Bordignon, a spokesman for State Farm, said in a statement. “So any move to legalize it has to be matched with safeguards to discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel while they are influenced by it.”

More than 60 percent of people surveyed think the Canadian legal system is unprepared to deal with people who drive under the influence of marijuana, according to the State Farm survey. Almost nine in 10 say they’ve never driven stoned. The online survey polled 3,000 Canadians of driving age in March.