Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a top cause of teen auto accidents, and unfortunately more teens than ever before may be getting behind the wheel when they are high. Studies show that even as the rates of teen drunk driving have declined in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of high school seniors who drive after smoking pot or who get into the car with someone who is high.
Our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers know that Massachusetts legalized medical-marijuana last year and that lawmakers both at the federal level and across the United States have been moving towards relaxing penalties or even decriminalizing marijuana use altogether. As the political climate changes regarding the use of marijuana, however, it is important to remember that driving high or getting in the car with someone who is high is both illegal and could be extremely dangerous.
More High School Students Impaired by Marijuana
NBC News reported on the Monitoring the Future Project, in which 17,000 high school seniors at 135 different schools responded to interview questions. The Monitoring the Future Project revealed that 28 percent of high school seniors said they had either driven after using drugs or alcohol or that they had gotten into a car in the past two weeks with a driver who had used drugs or alcohol.
A research professor at the University of Michigan affiliated with the study explains the increase in drivers impaired by alcohol by suggesting that the softening of attitudes against marijuana coupled with the full legalization in some states has encouraged young people to believe that marijuana is not as dangerous as it actually can be if used before driving.
With so many teens not understanding the gravity of the risk and driving while impaired, the roads are much less safe for all motorists. Since there are 13 million driving-age teenagers, estimates indicate there could be as many as three million impaired teens on the road.
Will the Accident Risk Increase?
Since both driving drunk and driving while high are considered to be extremely dangerous behaviors, it should come as no surprise that there are concerns a rise in impaired teen drivers could also lead to a significant number of injuries or death.
The increased risk of accidents is a significant one, as Science World reports that drivers who test positive for drugs have a three-times greater risk of becoming involved in a fatal car accident than those who are not on alcohol or narcotics.
Teens need to be aware of this increased risk of auto accidents that comes from being impaired by drugs or alcohol, and parents should make sure their kids understand that it is never OK to be high behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Boston Drunk Driver Busted for Third Offense, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, August 26, 2013