Mass. driving school curriculum to soon adopt lessons on cannabis-impaired driving

In the new year, Massachusetts driving instructors will begin teaching student drivers about the harms of operating vehicles while impaired by cannabis.

State transportation officials said in a statement that drivers’ education classes across the state would integrate a new 25-minute module on the subject. The lessons will be taught at more than 460 driving schools across Massachusetts, the statement said.

Colleen Ogilvie, the registrar of motor vehicles, said the updated curriculum is similar to modules that teach about the hazards of alcohol and driving.

“This is not intended to be any negative statement about the use of marijuana,” Ogilvie said. “We certainly understand it’s legal in Massachusetts. This is simply intended to inform teens.”

The state will be the first of those with a legal recreational marijuana market to incorporate the lessons on cannabis-impaired driving. According to the Mass. transportation officials’ statement, the modules earlier mentioned problems linked to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol more broadly.

The updates will “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,” the statement said.

Voters legalized recreational marijuana across Massachusetts in 2016; the first retail sales in the legal market were made in November of 2018.