Teen driver? New study raises parents’ concerns

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Speaking of driving, we hear a lot about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while drunk, but we may need to issue similar warnings about marijuana.

Researchers did a telephone survey of 315 first-year college students and found that 44% of the men said they had driven while stoned in the previous month.

By comparison, 12% said they had driven after consuming alcohol.

For women in college, driving while under the influence of marijuana was less common – only 9% reported doing so – and only about 3% said they drove after drinking. But 35% of female respondents said they were passengers in a car driven by someone who had been using marijuana.

Riding with a stoned driver was even more prevalent among men, with 51% saying they’d had that experience.

“We definitely need to think about how to help students understand that marijuana is risky to use before you drive,” lead study author Jennifer Whitehill, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told HealthDay. “These are young, inexperienced drivers, and marijuana does increase crash risk.”

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