Steering clear: Traffic violations among emerging adults who engage in habitual or casual cannabis use Journal Articles uri icon

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  • While some research has shown that cannabis use can impair driving ability, evidence to the degree and impact of impairment are lacking. This study examined the association between habitual or casual cannabis use and past-year traffic violations among emerging adults (EAs). Data come from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health. Respondents (n = 5630) were categorized as: early (15-19 y), middle (20-24 y), and late (25-29 y) EAs. Traffic violations were measured using self-report and cannabis use was measured using the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. The prevalence of traffic violations was higher for males (19.2 %) vs females (9.9 %) and middle (16.2 %) and late (19.4 %) EAs vs early (8.8 %) EAs. The odds of reporting traffic violations were higher for EAs who engaged in habitual [OR = 1.77 (1.17-2.67)] or casual [OR = 1.79 (1.27-2.51)] cannabis use when compared to non-users. Age moderated the association such that higher odds of traffic violations were reported in early EAs who were casual cannabis users and middle EAs who were habitual or casual cannabis users when compared to non-users. Use of other drugs was also a moderator-in the absence vs. presence of other drug use, odds of traffic violations were higher in those who engaged in either habitual or casual use of cannabis. When accounting for the moderating effects of age and drug use, habitual and casual cannabis use resulted in increased odds of a traffic violation. Future research is warranted to explore the robustness of our findings.


  • Ciccarelli, Tiana M
  • Leatherdale, Scott T
  • Perlman, Chris
  • Thompson, Kara
  • Ferro, Mark

publication date

  • April 2021