A new report shows that 19 percent of teen drivers have driven under the influence of marijuana—more than those who have driven after drinking, at 13 percent.
The report, released by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Driving (SADD), found that 70 percent of teens characterized marijuana use as “very” or “extremely” distracting to their driving. The number is a decline from 2009, where 78 percent of teens believed marijuana was distracting.
“Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception and can lead to poor decisions when a teen under the influence of this or other drugs gets behind the wheel of a car,” said Stephen Wallace, a senior advisor at SADD.
The report also finds that of the 13 percent of teens who reported to drink and drive, 19 percent believe that alcohol use does not present a driving distraction.
But teens say they would stop driving under the influence of marijuana (90 percent) or alcohol (94 percent) if asked by their passengers.
A driving safety expert at Liberty Mutual said Americans will see a decline when adults begin communicating with teens.
“Teens are faced with potentially destructive decisions every day and don’t always make the best ones,” said Dave Melton. “It’s our job as mentors, parents, role models or friends to effectively communicate with them to ensure they are armed with the right information and aware of the dangers of marijuana and other substances, especially while driving.”
The report comes from focus groups comprising of 2,294 teens in the 11th and 12th grades in 28 high schools across the country.