What’s more distracting: Driving while texting or driving while under the influence of marijuana? According to a new poll, most Americans believe the correct answer is texting.
The survey, released earlier this week, polled more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). The results reveal that more Americans consider using social media (99 percent) and texting (98 percent) on a cell phone to be dangerous while driving than being under the influence of marijuana (91 percent).
But while the vast majority of Americans (91 percent) believe driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and a similar percentage (87 percent) say those who do so are a hazard to others on the road, just two in five (40 percent) believe it is contributing to more motor vehicle crashes. Distracted driving, which includes actions such as using a cell phone, talking to passengers, eating and adjusting the radio, tops the list as the number one perceived contributor (92 percent) to the increase in crashes across the country.
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“Driving under the influence of marijuana is extremely dangerous,” said Robert Gordon, senior vice president, PCI. “In fact, driving under the influence of marijuana should be viewed with the same risks as drunk or distracted driving. When you’re high, it can impair your judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time. We need more research, public awareness, and better public policy to reduce the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving and to make our roads less dangerous.”
According to the survey, 31 percent of parents have discussed the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana with their child, which pales in comparison to parents who have discussed:
- Wearing a seatbelt all/most of the time (67 percent)
- Texting while driving (60 percent)
- Speeding while driving (54 percent)
- Talking on cell phone while driving (50 percent)
- Using social media while driving (40 percent)
“Parents need to discuss the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana with their teenagers,” Gordon said. “As more states liberalize their marijuana laws, it is critical that the public become more aware of the dangers of driving high. And that awareness campaign should start at home, with conversations between parents and their children about safe driving.”