Study: 19 Percent of Teens Have Driven High On the Road Weekly Publication

Just when I think I have this whole parenting thing figured out, the game changes. With my oldest daughter preparing for middle school next year, I feel like I have a pretty firm grip on the perils of upper elementary: limiting the amount of makeup worn to school and teaching her to be responsible with her first cell phone.

What I'm not prepared for is the reality that marijuana use is at an all-time high among eighth- to 12th-grade students and that one in five teens admits to having driven after smoking marijuana, according to a teen driving study released by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

While parents seem to have done a fairly thorough job instilling importance of not driving after drinking alcohol -- only 13 percent of teens have driven while under the influence of alcohol -- apparently we've been slacking on relaying the dangers of driving after smoking pot. Nineteen percent of teens have driven while high, the study says.

Teens appear to have become desensitized to the dangers of marijuana over recent years. Seventy-eight percent of teens described their marijuana use as "very" or "extremely" distracting to their driving, according to a 2009 study. However, the percentage of teens in the most recent study who felt that level of concern dropped to 70 percent.

It should be noted that teens in this age group are highly affected by peer pressure. Ninety percent of the teens in the study said they would stop driving under the influence of marijuana if asked to do so by a friend.

-Kristin Varela,


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