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Driving Safety and Marijuana

My daughter will soon be driving. She does not like the taste of alcohol, but I suspect she might smoke marijuana. What are the risks and consequences?


There is reason to be concerned about teen marijuana use and driving safety.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s ‘Monitoring the Future’ Survey, marijuana use with driving is now more common than drinking and driving  plus it leads to similar misadventures behind the wheel.  Marijuana also negatively impacts brain development. The negative impact of alcohol on road safety is well known, but the impact of marijuana use on road safety had been less clear to this point.  Marijuana slows the reaction time down for drivers.  Having a frank conversation about the consequences of usage is important but what is more important is developing a safety plan if they find themselves using.  Parents can only truly educate on the harmful effects, having a safety plan is an added benefit.

According to the 2011 survey, high school seniors who drove after marijuana use and after heavy drinking were similarly likely to have had accidents (26.9% and 30.2%, respectively) and to have received traffic tickets/warnings (42.1% and 43.2%, respectively).  I would suggest that you have a conversation with your daughter about her potential use of marijuana and underscore the importance of not driving while impaired by any substance.

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