As part of a Graduated Drivers License, millions of teens take Drivers Education classes each year. This is an opportunity to provide factual information about the dangers of drugged driving at a time when students are most vulnerable to the misleading information spawned by the marijuana lobby. Drivers Education programs vary widely but generally try to follow a curriculum codified by the American Driver Training and Safety Education Association. Most do an excellent job of educating students on the dangers of drunk driving. Excellent quality published materials are available to support teachers in this endeavor.
Drugged driving is another matter. Most materials published do a very poor job educating students about the dangers of drugged driving. The AAA Powerpoint package is an exception, but it has its problems that the AAA will likely correct soon. But textbooks are uniformly miserable.
At a time when students are increasing their use of marijuana while decreasing their use of alcohol, it is imperative that Drivers Education reform itself to do as good a job in teaching about drugged driving as they do about drunk driving.
In 2019, 20.6% of Colorado teens reported having used marijuana in the past 30 days compared with 29.6% having used alcohol in the same time period. But whereas 5.9% of teens reported having driven after alcohol use in the last 30 days, 11.2% reported having driving after marijuana use in the same time period. The 11.2% having driven came from the 20.6% having used marijuana, so we know that 54.4% of current marijuana users drove after using the drug! That is a bit higher than the 48.8% reported by the 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey [Li Li MS, Guoqing Hu, Swhwebel DC, Zhu M. Analysis of US Teen Driving After Using Marijuana, 2017.JAMA Network Open, (2020) 3(12) e2030473].
Even the CDC got it wrong in 2017 when they said, “…it is unclear whether marijuana use actually increases the risk of car crashes.” They corrected their error in 2020, but have not as of this writing, removed the erroneous advice.
DUID Victim Voices has written training material for both students and teachers of Drivers Education and is currently attempting to get this material adopted by Drivers Education professionals.