24 Dec Teen Driving After Using Marijuana
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Li Li, MS, PhD Candidate
Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, Ohio State University
Graduate Research Associate, Center for Injury Research and Policy
The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Marijuana use impairs cognitive abilities necessary for safe driving, including reaction time, road lane-tracking ability, and attention maintenance. Given increasing legalization of marijuana use in the US, our study aimed to estimate marijuana-impaired driving among teens at a national level and help to identify the current prevalence to guide future intervention programs.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our study found 49% of drivers age 14 to 18 and older years who currently use marijuana engaged in driving after using marijuana (DAUM). We also found DAUM (13%) was over double the prevalence of drinking and driving (5%) among general drivers. Male and older participants had higher DAUM percentages than their counterparts. Hispanic students had the highest DAUM prevalence among general teen drivers, but White students were highest among drivers currently using marijuana. Teen drivers who reported binge drinking, or drinking and driving were more likely to engage in driving after using marijuana.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Over 1 in 8 teen drivers reported driving after using marijuana in the past month. Almost half of drivers who currently use marijuana engaged in DAUM. Our findings underscore the importance of strategies to combat marijuana-impaired driving among teens, especially those reporting current marijuana use.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: As US states legalize medical and recreational marijuana use, teens may misperceive the risk of marijuana use or driving after using marijuana. Future research should evaluate how marijuana policies might affect behavior and risk driving among teens.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Our results present a serious public health concern, as marijuana use is documented to significantly increase risk of motor vehicle crashes among teen drivers. Strategies that adopt and enforce new policies to change social norms and acceptability of marijuana use and DAUM, increase perceived harmfulness of marijuana among teens, and improve parental involvement offer promise to mitigate risk.
Li L, Hu G, Schwebel DC, Zhu M. Analysis of US Teen Driving After Using Marijuana, 2017. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(12):e2030473. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.30473
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