The NSC looks at Colorado stats, which shows that traffic deaths increased as cannabis use while...

The NSC looks at Colorado stats, which shows that traffic deaths increased as cannabis use while driving also increased.

Photo via McCutcheon

One third of employees from various industries say they have observed cannabis use during work hours and more than 50% of employers that eliminated THC testing say they experienced an increase in incidents or other workplace performance concerns, according to a recent survey from the National Safety Council.

Cannabis legalization is creating new challenges for employers, and for fleet operators a key concern should be ensuring that drivers do not get behind the wheel when under the influence.

Yet nearly seven in 10 employees feel their organization is well prepared to address recreational cannabis use in the workplace — including 68% of respondents in the transportation field.

The good news is that employees report that nearly two-thirds of organizations have a cannabis policy in place. Of those with a policy, nearly nine in 10 are at least somewhat familiar with the policy and eight in 10 feel the policy is fair.

Even so, the National Safety Council uses the state of Colorado as a key example of the hazardous effects of cannabis use and driving. Since recreational cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2013, traffic deaths where drivers tested positive for cannabis increased an alarming 138% while all Colorado traffic deaths increased 29%.

The fact is, driving while using cannabis is very dangerous. The drug significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Preliminary estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that total traffic deaths nationwide increased 7% in 2020, and impaired driving was one of the main behaviors accounting for this increase.

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