A recent teen driving study by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and Liberty Mutual Insurance highlighted a disturbing new finding about teens and driving: According to the SADD/Liberty Mutual Insurance survey, nearly one in five teen drivers reported that they have driven under the influence of marijuana—a figure even higher than surveyed teens that had reported driving after drinking (13 percent). The study also reports that more than one-third of teens who have driven after using marijuana say the drug presents no distraction to their driving. “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, Senior Advisor for Policy, Research, and Education at SADD.
SADD, a peer-to-peer youth education and prevention organization, has been working with ONDCP to educate young people about the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana and other drugs. In October 2011, ONDCP held a Drugged Driving Summit that brought together leaders in youth prevention, highway safety, law enforcement, government, and research to discuss how to best address the growing concern of drugged driving. As part of these education efforts, ONDCP has released a toolkit aimed at teens, parents, and community leaders to help prevent drugged drivers from hitting our roads.
Next week, ONDCP staff will meet with more than 30 SADD state-level directors to discuss how teens can get involved in their own communities to prevent drugged driving and to support President Obama’s goal of reducing drugged driving in America.