Turning 16 is a huge part of the American high school experience. Not only do teens gain the ability to drive, but many are also experimenting with drugs around that same age. The University of Michigan conducted a experiment in 2014 and found that over 11% of 8th graders had tried Marijuana in the past year, and over 35% of 12th graders had as well. With larger and larger amounts of the youth population smoking, this makes getting on the road even more dangerous. According to The National Institute of Drug Abuse, the use of Marijuana can slow down reaction time, impair judgement of time and distance, and hinder motor coordination. This is an issue for all those who choose to drive under the influence of marijuana, not just those who have only been driving for a few years.
According to the Pew Research Center, almost 50% of adults in American have tried Marijuana
Not only are more and more teens smoking marijuana, but they are also the most at risk age group when it comes to auto accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every mile driven, teen drivers age 16-19 are almost three times as likely to be in a fatal crash than those 20 and over. Teens have less experience behind the wheel and this inexperience leads to more opportunities for them to make mistakes, especially when drugs and alcohol are part of the equation. In 2014, Michigan alone had 54,935 crashes, 115 of which were fatal, for drivers between 16-20, according to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.
There are currently many groups taking petitions around the state of Michigan to attempt to get Michigan's Congress to vote on legislation that would make recreational marijuana legal. Although most likely Michigan would copy states such as Colorado and Alaska where the legal age to posses marijuana is 21, this would likely make it easier for minors to get marijuana, just as youth currently do with alcohol. With this on the not too far off horizon it is very important to educate our youth on the facts of distracted driving. Whether that be impairing yourself with drugs such as marijuana or alcohol, texting and driving, eating and driving, or many other things that teens are especially susceptible to. By keeping ourselves and our youth informed, we will be able to lower the amount of teen car crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
Be sure to educate yourself on Michigan driving laws, and if you have been injured in an auto accident, speak to an attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys are highly skilled in helping victims of automotive injuries receive any compensation they may be entitled to, under Michigan law. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.