Feds’ ad targets impaired teen drivers

WASHINGTON – Many teen drivers believe it’s less dangerous to drive after smoking marijuana than after drinking alcohol, a perception the government wants to change.

“Driving sober means no alcohol, no marijuana, no drugs,” John Walters, the Bush administration’s drug policy director, said Thursday as he showed a new television ad aimed at stopping teens from driving after smoking pot.

Walters’ office is spending $10 million on the ad and other efforts to teach teens and their parents about the danger of drugged driving. There also are brochures that are being distributed in high schools and state motor vehicle offices.

Marijuana can affect concentration, perception and reaction time up to 24 hours after it’s smoked, Walters said. Yet teens have gotten the message that it’s a benign drug.

In a recent study, 30 percent of teens said “planning to drive” was a reason not to drink. But only 18 percent cited “planning to drive” as a reason not to take drugs. The survey questioned 3,574 middle and high school students nationwide in spring and was conducted for Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

A 2004 study of patients admitted to the trauma unit at the University of Maryland found that 19 percent of crash victims under 18 tested positive for marijuana.

Dr. Jeffrey Runge, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said states are training police to recognize the effects of various drugs, but said more training is needed.

Runge also encouraged states to test drivers for drugs after a crash so officials can understand the scope of drugged driving. Now, drivers rarely are tested for drug use, Runge said. One-quarter of the 3,657 drivers age 15-20 who were killed in accidents in 2003 had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

Runge said teens are at special risk because they are inexperienced drivers and they often have a dangerous combination of alcohol and drugs in their systems. He said teens must understand the dangers and designate a driver before they go out.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Car crashes into Everett apartment, displacing residents

No one was injured in the crash late Friday, according to Everett police.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read