DRUGGED DRIVING A PHANTOM MENACE FOR TODAYS TEENS
Mutual Survey Reveals Prevalence of This Dangerous Behavior
(September 4, 2002) For decades, American society has battled
the issue of drinking and driving, particularly among teenagers. But
new results from the annual survey on teen driving by SADD, Inc. (Students
Against Destructive Decisions/Students Against Driving Drunk) and Liberty
Mutual Group reveal a more common threat to adolescent safety: drugging
According to the 2002 SADD/Liberty Mutual survey reporting results of
more than 1,600 middle and high school students countrywide, driving
after using marijuana is more prevalent (68 percent) than driving after
drinking alcohol (48 percent of those who drink regularly).
"As if rampant pot smoking by teens werent problem enough,
many of them believe that driving under the influence of marijuana poses
little risk of impaired operation," said Stephen Wallace, a psychologist
and SADDs national chairman and chief executive officer. "Marijuana
use, even a little, negatively affects driving performance and is linked
to tens of thousands of serious automobile crashes, injuries and deaths
findings from the 2002 SADD/Liberty Mutual teen driving survey include:
half (43 percent) of 6th-12th graders have used or are using drugs;
majority of licensed teen drivers who use drugs regularly
report they "drug and drive" (68 percent); and,
than half the teens who are using drugs are not concerned about riding
in a car with a driver who is using drugs (57 percent).
B. Conners, Liberty Mutual executive vice president and manager, Personal
Insurance, added, "Motor vehicle accidents remain the number-one
killer of young people in America, and it is alarming to continually
see teens tempting fate by impairing their driving abilities."
Can Be the Solution
the third consecutive year, the SADD/Liberty Mutual research has uncovered
trends among teen drivers, identifying both areas of concern and opportunity
for behavioral and attitudinal change. Prior years studies reveal
that parents can be very influential in their teens driving behaviors,
including drug and alcohol use. Data reveals that teens whose parents
talk to them about driving behaviors and expectations are less likely
to drink, drink and drive, speed, and are more likely to wear their
SADD and Liberty Mutual have created a library of solutions for parents
and teens to improve family communication about driving behaviors and
other life-and-death issues:
"Opening Life-Saving Lines" brochure. This free guide
helps parents and teens negotiate the SADD "Contract for Life,"
a reciprocal covenant in which teens commit to always wear their seat
belt and to never ride with an impaired driver, and parents agree
to provide safe transportation home if their teen is ever in an unsafe
situation. The brochure is available by calling 1-877-SADDINC.
Mutuals "Avoiding Collisions How to Survive the
Teenage Driving Years" video, a 15-minute family program
that covers four dangerous teen driving issues -- seat belts, speeding,
driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving at night.
The free video is available from a local Liberty Mutual sales office,
or by calling 1-800-4-LIBERTY.
Mutual Family Communication Tips, suggestions for families to
openly and honestly discuss the issues that teens face every day.
These tips are available online at www.sadd.org
information about the SADD/Liberty Mutual survey results is available
online at www.libertymutualinsurance.com
Inc. sponsors peer-to-peer education and prevention programs in middle
schools and high schools nationwide.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2002, Boston-based Liberty Mutual
Group is one of the largest multi-line insurers in the North American
property and casualty industry. Offering a wide range of products and
services, including private passenger auto and homeowners insurance,
Liberty Mutual Group employs 35,000 people in more than 800 offices
throughout the world.