The UC study is the first of its kind to examine drugged driving over multiple years among adults in the U.S., says Yockey and the study’s co-authors: Keith King, the center’s director, and co-director Rebecca Vidourek, both professors at UC’s School of Human Services.
As legalization of marijuana and other drugs becomes more prevalent, King says, “There is serious concern as to how legalization will affect driving behaviors among adults,” adding that more research is needed to specifically evaluate the impact of legalization; particularly among those found to be most vulnerable such as sexual minorities.
While the team utilizes research to identify the risk factors, their efforts also concentrate on education, preferably at an early age, and identifying prevention strategies that are culturally relevant.
For example, Vidourek says that some cultures and communities are less likely to view marijuana as a drug and potentially harmful substance, which may affect its use while driving. “Identifying messages and strategies that are culturally relevant is imperative,” she says.
“We need to be vigilant because the trends are increasing,” says Yockey.
Featured image at top of highway driving. Photo/Alexander Schmmeck/Unsplash