Youth and young adult driving under the influence of any psychoactive substance is an important public health problem that needs the attention of parents, public health officials, law enforcement, and federal and state officials.
Which is why a release of findings but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are important.
The CDC released data showing that America's teenagers and young adults are much less likely to drive drunk than they used to be -- but the rate of driving while stoned has been slower to improve.
The report indicates that between 2002 and 2014, "the prevalence of driving under the influence of alcohol alone and alcohol and marijuana combined significantly declined among persons aged 16–20 years and 21–25 years," the CDC concluded. Among 16- to 20-year-olds, the drunk driving rate fell 59 percent.
Among the 21 to 25 set, the rate fell by 38 percent.
The report notes that motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among 16- to 25-year-olds in the United States. Obiosuly, any reduction in DUI rates among that age group is welcome.
The findings in this report are subject to at least four limitations.
First, data are self-reported and are subject to recall and social desirability bias, and individual perception of driving impairment. Second, only respondents who reported past-year marijuana use, did not report the use of any other illegal drugs in the past year, and reported driving under the influence of drugs in the past year were coded in the survey as having driven under the influence of marijuana in the past year. Therefore, the estimates of driving under the influence of marijuana alone and combined with alcohol do not include the 35.9 percent of all marijuana users who reported using some other illicit drug in the past year, and as a result, the estimated number of persons who self-reported driving under the influence of marijuana in the past year likely was underestimated. Third, given the differences in marijuana legislation among states, some marijuana users could possibly have responded negatively to NSDUH's original question, which might have contributed to underestimation of driving under the influence of marijuana. Finally, currently no level of consumption to determine impairment of driving while under the influence of marijuana exists; therefore, self-reported data are subject to various interpretations of impairment (i.e., being under the influence) among individual users, and likely represent a conservative estimate.