Starting next year, Massachusetts will be the first U.S. state with a legal cannabis program to add lessons about cannabis impairment to its driver’s education programs, WCVB5 reports.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is providing the new curriculum, which will be named “Shifting Gears: the Blunt Truth about Marijuana and Driving.” Officials with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) said some 50,000 young drivers are expected to be taught the program each year across the state’s approximately 700 driving schools.
“The current driver education module addressing impaired driving will be updated to include research-based information on cannabis, explaining how tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, affects cognition, vision, reaction time, and perception of time and distance.” — MDOT official statement, via WCVB5
Massachusetts state law requires first-time drivers who are younger than 18 to finish at least 30 hours of driver’s ed classes before they can qualify for an unrestricted license.
MDOT officials said the Registry of Motor Vehicles would join AAA and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission for an event on Friday touting the new program.
“This is the first generation of driver education students to be licensed since cannabis became legal in Massachusetts, and AAA research shows that impaired driving crashes may increase and continue to injure and kill motorists and their passengers,” MDOT officials said in the report.
The driver’s ed changes come six years after Massachusetts voters approved cannabis legalization in 2016 and three years after the 2019 launch of regulated cannabis sales.
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