DR. WALLACE: I'm 20, and the 22-year-old guy I date could be considered to be a pothead. He smokes a lot of marijuana — he has some every day — although the amount he smokes per day varies on how "functional" he needs to be, given the specific responsibilities of each day.
Believe it or not, he even sometimes smokes while he's driving! He says that he is in complete control of his car at all times and that pot makes him a better driver because it "mellows him out" so he isn't nervous like he is when he drives "straight." He drives about 25 miles or more every day, and so far, he has not been caught or pulled over while driving. He says that alcohol affects drivers much more than pot and that a lot of young drivers these days text while they drive, too. He claims he is therefore a much safer driver than those in either of those two other categories. I can confirm that I have never seen him drive after drinking, and I have also never witnessed him texting while driving. Do you feel he's really a safe driver? — Dubious Girlfriend, via email
DUBIOUS GIRLFRIEND: That's like asking a person whether it's better for them to lose an arm or a leg from their body. It's a serious loss, regardless of the extremity. The same is true for driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug, substance or mind-altering compound.
Various studies I have seen over the years show that marijuana affects a person's ability to drive and that people high on marijuana are involved in an unusually high percentage of traffic accidents and fatalities.
Tests conducted in mechanical and electronic driving simulators show that marijuana smoking impairs driving skills, even in those who don't think they are high because they believe they had smoked only a modest amount of marijuana. In states like California, these days, young drivers arrested for impaired driving showed clear evidence of recent marijuana use in roughly 1 out of every 6 such arrests.
Stop riding with your boyfriend when he is using any type of drug at all. Your personal safety is your responsibility, and you are taking a terrible risk to get into a vehicle with an impaired driver. His chances of being involved in accident while high are much too high for you, his passenger. Steer clear of future rides whenever he offers you a lift. I suggest you use Lyft or Uber instead.
YOUR SCHOOL WOULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE
DR. WALLACE: Lately, someone has been breaking into student lockers and stealing things. Sometimes, I leave a few expensive things in my locker overnight, and I would be very upset if they were stolen. But if they were, would the school be responsible to reimburse me for my loss? — Worried Student
STUDENT: The school district provides students with a locker that they can elect to use or not use. That's your own personal decision. If students choose to store things in their assigned locker, these students are responsible for all items that wind up missing — at any time or for any reason. Therefore, it would behoove you not to place valuables in your locker, even during school hours, especially at night. Now, in light of the fact that someone has recently been breaking into lockers at your school, you should know that you must protect your property. Don't leave valuables in your locker, ever.
Since the lockers are secured by a combination lock, it would also be wise to never give anyone the combination number. If the school administration suspects a student brought something to school against school regulations, this student's locker can be searched at any time without the student's permission. This is a safety measure for the student body and staff. After the search, if it is determined that a law has been broken, the police department will be contacted.
In my opinion, lockers should be used only for textbooks, lunches or snacks brought from home.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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