Peer Pressure for Good?
Friday, June 21, 2013
Posted by: Liberty Mutual
Driving safety advocates are hoping to find a new way to get through to teens – through other teens.
You’ve no doubt heard the statistics on how using electronic devices
in the car can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. And the increase
in the use of cell phones and other devices while driving has had a
significant effect on driving fatalities. According to the National
Transportation Safety Board, highway crashes are the leading cause of
death for young Americans. While fatalities in general have declined in
recent years, highway deaths were up last year, with deaths of 16- and
17-year-olds rising nearly 20 percent from the year before.
how can we convince teens to put down their smartphones and pay
attention to the road? As we’ve noted before, driving with mom and dad
might not be the answer. Last year, a study from Liberty Mutual Insurance showed that teens mirror parents’ distracted driving habits. In an interview with NPR,
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety
Board, advised parents to be on their best behavior behind the wheel
"because [your kids] are watching you, and you are actually one of the
best indicators of what your child’s behavior is going to be.”
in an effort to deter teens from texting and driving, the government is
turning to a tool that could be more powerful than parents’ admonitions
– peer pressure.
The results of a recent national survey show
that while 95 percent of teens read text messages and emails while
driving alone, less than a third do it when they have friends in the
car. The survey of over 2,000 teens, conducted by the Teens Drive Smart Program
at Bridgestone Americas, also found that over 90 percent of young
drivers post to social media sites when driving alone, but only 29
percent did so with others in the car. As the Detroit Bureau
notes, the survey’s results suggest that the widely publicized efforts
to shine a light on the dangers of distracted driving may be having the
desired effects by making the practice socially unacceptable.
Now, Project Yellow Light,
a new scholarship program sponsored by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, is rewarding students who have created their own
PSA videos about distracted driving. The program encourages teens to
"speak to your peers on this subject in a way that adults cannot. The
more lives you can impact, the more lives you can save.” The winners –
three from high schools and three from colleges – receive scholarships
of $5,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for first through third places,
respectively. The winners’ videos will be turned into Ad Council PSAs
and distributed to 1,600 television stations around the country.
it possible that the power of peer pressure could be leveraged for good
by getting teens to put down their phones while they’re behind the
wheel? Weigh in here.
Source: Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project Blog
May 16, 2013 - by Andrea Bennett
Picture is property of Liberty Mutual. Used with permission.