According to new research debuted by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), many teens are under the impression that driving while under the influence of marijuana is legal. Thirty-three percent of the surveyed group believed that the practice of driving after smoking marijuana was permissible.
In an even more interesting statistic, 27 percent of the parents surveyed also believed this practice to be legal.
Liberty Mutual believes that kids are receiving “mixed messages” about driving under the influence of marijuana. While a large majority know that drinking and driving is illegal, it seems that marijuana laws are muddied, especially with the legality of recreational use being so new.
Sixty-eight percent of teens surveyed think that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous; as stated previously, nearly half of those teens believe that the practice is not only dangerous, but legal, too.
After recreational marijuana use became legal in several states, new concerns began to arise. As with alcohol consumption, marijuana use is now legal for adults over age 21 in those states where the law permits.
Although recreational use is legal, Colorado law states that it is illegal drive with more than 5 nanograms of THC in your blood. Other states have similar laws in place.
Driving under the influence of any altering substance is a dangerous practice. We have discussed the effects of alcohol a great deal, though as marijuana use becomes a more common, legal practice throughout the US, we must also examine the effects of use on drivers.
In reaction to the study, Mike Sample, a driving safety expert at Liberty Mutual said that, “Driving under the influence of marijuana significantly impairs motor coordination, judgment, and reaction time.”
With teens already at risk for distracted driving, this information is disturbing to learn. Education must be made a priority, and it should bear reminding that no amount of marijuana use is safe when the operation of a motor vehicle is involved.
And not only is it dangerous—it’s illegal, and that’s a fact.
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