Sadie Says …

Answers to frequently asked questions about safe driving

Q: “My son just informed me that my grandson smokes pot, but I don’t think he drives afterwards. Don’t kids know better?”

A: While most students are aware of the effects of alcohol on driving, the effects of marijuana on driving have been less publicized.

Do you think driving under the influence of marijuana isn’t an issue that will affect the teen driver in your family?

Local students report that they are more likely to drive under the influence of marijuana than alcohol.

The reason?

A recent study found that many teens who reported driving under the influence of marijuana were unconcerned about “driving high” because they didn’t think marijuana had a negative effect on their driving. Teens also indicated they believe that marijuana isn’t harmful or addictive since it has become legal in many states.

Marijuana is a mind-altering substance that significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time — skills vital for safe driving. Drivers with THC (the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high) in their blood are seven times more likely to crash than unimpaired drivers.

THC in today’s marijuana is many times more potent than in the 60’s and 70’s.

A recent report from the American Chemical Society indicates that the THC content in some marijuana strains has roughly tripled in three decades.

Also, marijuana can remain detectable in body fluids for days — even weeks — after intoxication.–

Encourage your son to talk to his teen about the dangers of driving after using marijuana, alcohol or any drug, or riding with an impaired driver. Studies show that 80 percent of teens cite their parents as having the most influence over teen’s driving behavior.

Sadie Says … is brought to you by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition’s Safe Communities Task Force, whose members include AAA North Penn, AARP, Area Agency on Aging and regional transportation and highway safety advocates.

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