The alarming results of a new study that suggest many teens believe driving while high is legal highlight the dire need for regulation and education around cannabis.

A third of the 2,800 teens surveyed by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) reported believing that driving under the influence of cannabis is legal in states with recreational marijuana legalization. Moreover, more than 20 percent of teens said driving under the influence was common among their friends.

Perhaps even more startling, however, was the fact that 27 percent of the 1,000 parents surveyed believed driving while high was legal, while 14 percent said it was common among friends.

The same survey found that while 88 percent of teens believe driving drunk is dangerous, only 68 percent think the same about driving high. 

“Driving under the influence of marijuana significantly impairs motor coordination, judgment and reaction time,” said Mike Sample of Liberty Mutual.

“It’s important for parents and teens alike to understand the importance of not smoking marijuana and driving to help keep everyone safe on the road.”

Gene Beresin, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and SADD’s senior advisor on adolescent psychiatry, said the study underscores the importance of educating the public about cannabis.

"Conversations between parents and teenagers and between parents and adults in general are really, really important," Beresin told USA Today. "They are the most important role models for our kids."

Both Sample and Beresin recommend that parents foster open communication about cannabis with their children, while making clear their expectations about not driving while high or getting into a vehicle with someone under the influence.

h/t USA Today