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Marijuana — An Alarming Trend in High School Drivers

When you think of impaired driving, you most likely think of drinking and driving. But there’s another form of impaired driving that’s wreaking havoc on our Florida roadways.

We’re talking about smoking and driving — marijuana.

According to NBC NEWS, there’s a growing number of high school seniors who are getting behind the wheel after smoking pot, or they’re getting in the vehicle with a driver who has been smoking. Researchers say that these findings reflect the misconceptions about the dangers of marijuana.

Our Fort Pierce car accident lawyers understand that teenage drivers are at higher risks for an accident even when sober. Those risks skyrocket when you throw in mind-altering substances like alcohol or marijuana. But the teens just don’t seem to understand the risks, with their “accidents won’t happen to me” mindsets. And we need to change that.

According to a recent study, about 30 percent of high school seniors say that they’ve been in the vehicle with a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol at least once in the last 14 days.

Although drinking and driving has declined in recent years, incidents involving smoking marijuana and driving have increased.

“A higher percentage of students reported driving after using marijuana than after having five or more alcoholic drinks,” reported researcher in the piece published in the American Journal of Public Health.

What officials are finding to be the toughest about marijuana and driving is that there is no good degree of impairment. No one’s quite sure how much marijuana it takes to severely endanger driving habits. With alcohol, we have a test to prove when a driver is over the limit of .08 percent.

The study that was sponsored by officials with the National Institute on Drug Abuse have also determined that it didn’t matter where the students lived and the results were standard across the board. Each of the four geographic regions studied in this case produced the same results.

The problem we find here is that students don’t see these scenarios as dangerous as they should. The truth is that any kind of impairment is dangers and is a good way to put your life at risk.

Marijuana is directly linked to impaired driving. A meta–analysis published in the peer-reviewed 2012 edition of Epidemiological Reviews looked at nine studies conducted over the past two decades on marijuana and car-crash risk. It concluded, “drivers who test positive for marijuana or self–report using marijuana are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes.”

Marijuana has serious harmful effects on the skills required to drive safely: alertness, the ability to concentrate, coordination, and the ability to react quickly. These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road.

If you or someone in your family has been injured or killed in an accident, contact Freeman Injury Law at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

West Palm Beach Rollover Accident Sends 2 Children to Hospital, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, October 2, 2013

Child Passenger Safety Week to Protect Our Youngest Motorists, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 26, 2013

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