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A third of teens think driving while high is legal in some states

A survey of teens and parents earlier this year found a disturbing misinformation trend. Fully 33 percent of teens reported believing that, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, driving while high is also legal. Over 20 percent said that driving while high is common among their friends. Parents were only slightly less likely to be misinformed. Twenty-seven percent believed driving while high was legal in recreational use states, and 14 percent said it was common behavior among their friends.

Moreover, while 85 percent of teens knew that driving drunk was dangerous, only 68 percent knew that driving under the influence of marijuana could be hazardous.

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) surveyed 2,800 teenagers and 1,000 parents in April and May.

A separate study by used car dealer Instamotor indicated that people in states where marijuana is legal actively drive while high. Of 600 residents surveyed, 39 percent reported being comfortable driving within two hours of consuming or smoking cannabis.

"Driving under the influence of marijuana significantly impairs motor coordination, judgment and reaction time," said a technical consultant and driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual. It can also impair movement and memory, alter the senses, and sometimes cause hallucinations, delusions and even psychosis.

As you should know, no amount of marijuana is legal in Arizona. Even a small amount of marijuana can get you charged with a drug offense. Moreover, driving with any amount of marijuana in your system can result in a DUI charge -- and marijuana can remain in your body for weeks.

A conviction for drug DUI can result in some harsh consequences, too. While all DUI convictions result in driver's license revocation, people who are convicted of alcohol-related DUI are usually eligible for a permit that allows you to drive to work. People found with drugs in their system can be denied a work permit.

Most experts agree that more research is needed on the effects and potential dangers of marijuana use. At the same time, more education is clearly needed, as well. Parents and teens need to discuss the issue honestly and make a plan for what to do if a teen has ingested any intoxicant and needs a ride home. The same is true when a teen is relying on a driver who drinks or smokes marijuana.

Whether you're an adult or a teenager, if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need effective legal representation. There are many long-term consequences to a DUI or drug DUI charge, and Arizona's laws can be harsh.

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