Public education campaigns have focused for years on the importance of appointing a designated driver if there are plans to be out drinking. However, that concept appears to have been lost to a significant extent among teens and young adults when it comes to the use of drugs by drivers – an increasing threat to road safety.
A newly-released study published in the latest edition of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reveals that 33 percent of recent high school graduates reported riding with an impaired peer at some point in the last year, being slightly more likely to ride with a driver impaired by marijuana than a driver who was drunk. Researchers said the takeaway here is that while so much of our efforts have been laser-focused on alcohol-impaired driving, perhaps we need to shift our focus more to users of other substances.
While 20 percent of respondents said they had ridden at least one time with an alcohol-impaired driver, 23 percent said they had been a passenger at least once with a marijuana-impaired driver and 6 percent with a driver who was impaired by other illicit drugs (i.e., cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, LSD or ecstasy). Researchers also examined whether the impaired driver was a friend or relative about the same age, a little-known or unknown person about the same age or someone who was older. Results showed the risk of riding with an impaired driver was much higher for peer drivers than it was for older motorists. Continue reading →