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According to a recent study, nearly one in five (19 percent) of teens say they have gotten behind the wheel after smoking marijuana.

As reported in USA Today, the national study of nearly 2,300 11th- and 12th-graders was commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). It showed that a growing percentage of teens do not see marijuana use as a distraction while driving, with 70 percent of teens saying it is “very” or “extremely” distracting, down from 78 percent in 2009.

Stephen Wallace, senior advisor for Policy, Research and Education at SADD, said the findings reflect a “dangerous trend toward the acceptance of marijuana and other substances compared to our study of teens conducted just two years ago…both in terms of the increased use of marijuana and from the perspective that many think this is not a danger.”

Other studies, like the University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future” of 47,000 eighth-, 10th and 12th-graders, reflect this trend. That study revealed marijuana use rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year, with daily use at a 30-year peak level among high school seniors.

Of those teens who have driven after smoking pot, 36 percent say it presents no distraction when operating a vehicle. Nineteen percent say alcohol is no distraction, and 13 percent of teens report driving under the influence of alcohol.


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