Driving Stoned: College Students Don’t See the Risk

Campaigns against drunk driving have been effective at stigmatizing the behavior and reducing the risks of deaths due to motorists impaired by alcohol. In fact, one recent study of 338 college freshman revealed that only seven percent of surveyed students indicated that they had driven after consuming alcohol in the prior month. Mike-Slocumb-marijuana-accident-lawyers-Image

By contrast, however, many young people seem not to recognize how dangerous it is to drive after consuming cannabis products. An experienced attorney at the Mike Slocumb Law Firm can represent young people involved in student accidents.

College Students Not Seeing the True Risk of Drugged Driving

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst asked students a number of different questions about their behaviors regarding alcohol and drug use. The researchers discovered that many more students were using alcohol than were using cannabis products. However, despite this, a far greater number of students were either driving after consuming products with THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) or were getting into the car with someone who had used a cannabis product.

In total, an estimated 67 percent of male students and 64 percent of female students who were surveyed indicated to researchers that they had consumed alcohol in the 30 days prior to answering the questions. Less than half of these students had used cannabis. Just 30 percent of men and 13 percent of women said yes to cannabis use in the prior 30 days. In addition, 23 percent of the male students and nine percent of the young women surveyed indicated to researchers that they had used both alcohol and cannabis products.

Although many fewer students used THC, they were much more likely to drive stoned or to get into a vehicle operated by a stoned driver. In fact, 51 percent of men and 35 percent of women had been a passenger in a car with a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, and 44 percent of men and nine percent of women said that they themselves had driven after using THC products.

The data seems to suggest that college students don’t think drugged driving is as big of a risk as driving drunk. These students are wrong. A person who is impaired by THC use can experience delayed reaction time and impaired judgment that cause him to be unable to drive safely.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that marijuana is the second-most likely substance to be found in the blood of a driver who is injured or killed in a collision. Alcohol is obviously the substance most likely to be found. As many as four to 14 percent of drivers injured or killed in traffic collisions tested positive for marijuana. The higher the concentrations of THC in someone’s blood stream, the greater the likelihood that the stoned individual will be responsible for a collision.

College students need to understand these very real risks and make the smart choice not to get into the car with someone who has consumed drugs or alcohol.

Accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com.

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