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Drugs & Health Blog

Stop Distracted Driving: Stay Alert To Stay Safe

Sara Bellum

We live in a world obsessed with multitasking—people are watching TV while texting their friends while updating their Facebook status while tweeting about the latest celebrity gossip. And some people will even multitask behind the wheel of a car—not real smart, and reeeaaally dangerous. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has even launched a Web site devoted to raising awareness about the problem of “distracted driving:” Distraction.gov.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity someone does while driving that could potentially distract them and raise the risk of crashing. Texting and talking on the phone definitely fall into this category, but so does drunk and drugged driving. DOT reports that younger, inexperienced drivers under age 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

Drugged Driving = Danger

Marijuana happens to be the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims. That’s partly because the THC in marijuana can alter perception, attention, reaction time, judgment, and other faculties required for safe driving.

Hopefully, you would never drive under the influence of an illegal drug or alcohol—but that doesn’t mean other drivers are making the same positive choices. If you’ve got your eyes on your phone, you might miss something important right in front of you, like a stopped car or someone driving under the influence—weaving, speeding, crawling, or crossing the center line.

So do yourself, your passengers, and other travelers a favor: put your phone down while you’re driving and don’t get high and get behind the wheel.

Distraction.gov banner.

Visit Distraction.gov for more facts and stats on distracted driving.

Read more NIDA information about drugged driving.

Comments

Distracted driving is a horrible choice. I'm glad people are speaking out against it.

I remember when all we had to worry about was DUI issues. Now I see people texting all the time, swerving on the road, and it's terrifying. Hopefully police officers will crack down on this, frankly, and new drivers will understand that you can't multitask and be safe. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

I'm glad to see the government taking action to spread awareness of this issue. As a personal injury attorney, I see the horrible results of distracted driving almost everyday, which inspired me to start an organization called "Teens Against Distracted Driving." [commercial link removed, per guidelines]. With the government now spreading distracted driving education as well, we can hopefully cut down on the amount of unnecessary injuries and fatalities it causes.

Facebook is full of interesting things to do, one of which is play games. Facebook games can be really entertaining, extremely addictive, and sometimes frustrating. You have to find cheats, hints, tips, tricks, strategies and glitches for various Facebook games so you don't end up paying to much.
[commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Hi,

I think text and driving is so distracting and not a good idea. I know of someone who this happened to and it caused so much pain.

I’m glad to see the government taking action to spread awareness of this issue. As a personal injury attorney, I see the horrible results of distracted driving almost everyday, which inspired me to start an organization called “Teens Against Distracted Driving.” [commercial link removed, per guidelines]. With the government now spreading distracted driving education as well, we can hopefully cut down on the amount of unnecessary injuries and fatalities it causes.

I'd personally like to know where you got the facts and statistics to make the claim that "Marijuana happens to be the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims." If you could provide those it would be much appreciated. I'm writing a research paper for my English class on the legalization of marijuana and would be interested in seeing those.

An excellent topic! Start with the resources available on the Drugged Driving page on the NIDA website (http://www.nida.nih.gov/drugpages/druggeddriving.html) – there you can find various facts and statistics supporting that claim. Of course, you will also want to look at the resources on NIDA’s marijuana page - http://www.nida.nih.gov/DrugPages/Marijuana.html. Good luck to you!

None of what is said here about marijuana causing car accidents is true. I've driven high multiple times, and even have driven past cops or in front of cops and never was I pulled over. I've never been in an accident while high of any sort (fender bender, major crash, even minor scratches). The articles you list are [expletive deleted, per guidelines]. Look at the name of the site they come from and tell me the studies are not biased in any way. Weed does not kill people, people kill people. [Removed, per guidelines]

@You're joking, right? No joking about something as serious as this. So many people, when they’re high, think that they are ok to make it home. It only takes one accident to severely injure or even kill yourself or someone else.

"Studies conducted in several localities have found that approximately 4 to 14 percent of drivers who sustained injury or died in traffic accidents tested positive for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana." I took this excerpt directly from the resource you provided, 4-14% is not a significant figure whatsoever, now lets compare this to the percentage of fatal accidents in which alcohol was involved......."■33,808 people were killed in traffic accidents. 10,839 of these deaths was a result of alcohol (32% of all traffic deaths)" [Link removed, per guidelines]. 32% is over twice as much as marijuana by itself at marijuana's highest percentage of 14%. Now let'c compare these two statistics to the amount of fatal accidents caused by "fatigued" drivers.... "According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data analyzed by AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of car and truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers is up from 3.6 percent of fatal crashes in 1994 to nearly 17 percent of fatal crashes in the U.S."http://knowledgebase.findlaw.com/kb/2011/Jan/256434.html Now according to this statistic, it appears that even if marijuana is found in the max. percentage of fatal accidents it is still less than the percentage of accidents while driving tired. This article just seems silly to me.

Anything that causes accidents is bad – driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while tired, or driving while distracted (texting!). To your comment that “4-14% is not a significant figure whatsoever” - it’s significant to the families of those who died.

I too am curious where you got this apparantly erroneous information. In the Insurance Industry we all know that Alcohol is the number one drug related to trafiic accidents and resulting fatalities.

Well according to me sending, receiving, and reading texts are much dangerous as any unpredictable situation may occur which may lead unexpected lose of money and your time. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

The point I'm trying to get across is that marijuana isn't nearly as dangerous as this article portrays it to be. Statistically speaking, its safer to drive high than tired. I'm not advising that driving stoned is by any means a great idea, but I'd much rather be driving beside a stoned driver than a tired driver.

Agree that driving tired is dangerous, but don’t know how you can say “statistically speaking,” since it would be really hard to measure and compare someone driving “tired” to someone driving “stoned.”

Hi there, I am a big supporter of the cause against distracted driving, it's scary that distraction is a factor in 80% of crashes, if you want you can take a look at my infographic with scary statistics about distracted driving [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

hello guys

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