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Teen drivers drinking and smoking pot elevate car accident risk

Results from an alcohol, pot and driving study conducted by an out-of-state university may be of interest to New Jersey readers of this blog. The study showed that teens who smoke pot while drinking alcohol have a higher chance of engaging in dangerous driving habits. The survey results did not reflect the obvious increase in accident involvement for those who drink, smoke pot and drive, however. The survey showed that simply having combined the two drugs within the last year indicates an increased statistical likelihood of being involved in a car accident.

The study reviewed a dataset beginning from 2011 and stretching back to 1976. More than 72,000 teens in American schools were asked a series of questions, including whether they had smoked marijuana and drunk alcohol at the same time. The university study showed that 40 percent of students who had drunk alcohol and smoked pot simultaneously had gotten at least one driving ticket a year. They showed that 30 percent had gotten into a car crash.

If this is not cause for New Jersey parents to be concerned, an additional study revealed that marijuana smoking could be linked to an increased chance of heart problems among young adults. In yet another study, drivers were shown to have triple the likelihood of getting into a car accident if they tested positive for controlled substances. If their test revealed both alcohol and drugs, then they were 23 times more likely to suffer a fatal car accident.

These statistics may influence some New Jersey parents to advise their children not to drink, smoke and drive. They may even be enough to encourage many teenagers to make that decision on their own. Still, no matter how careful one is, the danger of sharing the roadway with other inebriated drivers will never completely go away. Anyone who has lost a family member in a fatal drunk driving car accident, however, can evaluate the facts of the accident to determine if they have a strong claim for pursuing restitution. If a favorable result is achieved in such a case, restitution may include money to cover funeral and memorial services, for pain and suffering and for lost income.

Source:, "Combined Alcohol and Marijuana Usage Increases Risk of Unsafe Driving", Samantha Goodwin, April 28, 2014

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