FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brian Blake (202) 395-6618
Julie Tacinelli (202) 828-8807
Recent Analysis Shows that One in
Six High School Seniors Admitted Driving While High
Drug Czar, Secretary of Transportation, and Safe
Driving Leaders Launch New Campaign to Urge Teens to Steer Clear
D.C.) Approximately one in six high school seniors in the United
States admitted driving under the influence of marijuana, according
to a recent analysis of Monitoring the Future data, and 41 percent of
teens surveyed by SADD/Liberty Mutual said they were not concerned about
driving after using drugs. Today the nations Drug Czar and Secretary
of Transportation were joined by Students Against Destructive Decisions
(SADD), GEICO, Mitsubishi Motors North America, and several driving
safety leaders to steer teens clear of pot as they prepare to take on
the responsibility of driving. Television advertisements to raise public
awareness of the problem of drugged driving will run during the months
of September and October.
"Todays teens have gotten the wrong message about marijuana,"
said John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Marijuana
is harmful and can lead to risky decisions, such as driving while high
or riding with drivers who are impaired. We want to encourage parents
of new drivers to use this milestone in their teens life to discuss
the dangers of marijuana and being responsible behind the wheel."
"The Bush Administration is committed to the safety of all Americans,"
said Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "Teens already have the highest
crash risk of any age group, making traffic crashes the leading cause
of death for young people age 15-20. Combining drug use with teens
inexperience on the road and risk-taking behavior is a recipe for disaster."
The "Drugged Driving" short report released today from the
National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that, in 2002, between
10 and 18 percent of young drivers age 17 to 21 reported driving under
the influence of an illicit drug during the past year. Driving-age teens
(age 16-19) are also four times more likely to use marijuana than younger
adolescents (age 12-15).
Estimates based on Monitoring the Future and Census Bureau data also
show that of the nearly 4 million high school seniors in the United
States, approximately one in six (600,000) drive under the influence
of marijuana, a number nearly equivalent to those who drive under the
influence of alcohol (640,000). Additionally, an estimated 38,000 of
these students reported in 2001 that they crashed while driving under
the influence of marijuana and 46,000 reported that they crashed while
driving under the influence of alcohol.
Marijuana affects concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction
time, many of the skills required for safe driving and other tasks.
These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana. Marijuana
use can also make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals
and sounds on the road.
Teens are high-risk drivers and have the highest crash risk of any age
group. Nearly one in five 16-year-old drivers is involved in a collision
in his or her first year of driving, making motor vehicle crashes the
leading cause of death for young people age 15 to 20.
Greater parent involvement, clear rules, and parental supervision are
associated with less risky teen behavior, such as marijuana use and
driving while high or under the influence of alcohol. Crashes were one-seventh
less likely to occur among teens with strong parental monitoring, according
to the Journal of Safety Research.
The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign will raise public awareness
on the issues of drugged driving and the harmful effects of teen marijuana
use through the promotion of free Steer Clear of Pot materials; new
Web content on www.TheAntiDrug.com and www.Freevibe.com; a new drivers
safety kit for teens and parents; advertisements on television with
drugged driving messages; and partnerships with GEICO, the Department
of Transportation, SADD, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
(AAMVA), American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association
(ADTSEA), Mitsubishi Motors North America, Liberty Mutual, and others
to distribute drugged driving and marijuana prevention materials to
drivers education teachers, teens, and parents.
The Media Campaign, SADD, and the Department of Transportation will
team up for National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Month in December.
SADD, the nations dominant peer-to-peer youth education and prevention
organization, will help distribute teen materials through its estimated
10,000 middle school, high school, and college SADD chapters nationwide.
GEICO, the fifth-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United
States, is incorporating the Media Campaigns messages into its
existing "Can I Borrow the Car?" teen driving and safety materials
and providing co-branded versions of those materials through the Campaigns
"New Teen Driver Kit." The company will also distribute co-branded
Steer Clear of Pot materials to customers who have new teen drivers
in the family and promote the Media Campaigns resources to its
5.5 million policyholders and 22,000 GEICO associates.
Recognizing the importance of keeping the nations youth drug-free,
Mitsubishi Motors North America will leverage its extensive dealership
network, strong brand awareness and Web site to bring the Campaigns
anti-drug messages and Steer Clear of Pot materials to parents, teens
and community leaders. This partnership extends the companys efforts
in promoting traffic safety and driving responsibility.
Liberty Mutual, the eighth-largest auto insurer in the U.S., will promote
the Steer Clear of Pot and other anti-drug Campaign messages to its
2 million auto and home customers, and 37,000 employees worldwide. Campaign
materials will be made available through Liberty Mutuals 360 local
personal insurance sales offices as well as through print materials,
publications, and the companys Internet and intranet sites.
AAMVA, the national network of departments of motor vehicles (DMVs),
and the Governors Highway Safety Association will distribute materials
to state officials and to DMVs across the nation. ADTSEA, which represents
driving and traffic safety educators nationwide, will provide classrooms
with drugged driving materials. In addition, the Media Campaign, AAMVA,
and ADTSEA will collaborate on a revised driving manual and educator
materials to enhance drugged-driving prevention in drivers education
To learn more about preventing youth marijuana and other illicit drug
use, log on to www.TheAntiDrug.com
for parents and www.Freevibe.com
In 1998, with bipartisan support, Congress created the National Youth
Anti-Drug Media Campaign with the goal of educating and enabling young
people to reject illicit drugs. Unprecedented in size and scope, the
Campaign is a strategically integrated communications effort that combines
advertising with public communications outreach to deliver anti-drug
messages and skills to Americas youth, their parents, and other
For more information on the ONDCP National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign,
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