Reckless driving is the number one killer of teens and young adults.The Ad Council and a coalition of State Attorney Generals and consumer protection agencies have started a campaign against reckless driving. The UR the Spokesperson campaign is aimed at empowering young adults to speak up when they don’t feel safe in a car.
The goal of the campaign is to decrease reckless driving among teens and young adults; let teens know they are a spokesperson against reckless driving; empower teens to speak up when they are in a car and don’t feel safe; increase awareness of the dangers of reckless driving; and educate teens on safe driving.
However, whether an education campaign can successfully combat reckless driving in this age group is open for debate. A recent USA Today article outlined new research in adolescent brain research.The study revealed that adolescent brains are not yet capable of avoiding risky behaviors.
The analysis, led by Temple University psychologist, Laurence Steinberg, says stricter laws and policies limiting their behaviors would be more effective than education programs. Steinberg, whose decade long research is detailed in Current Directions in Psychological Science, says that adolescents do not have the full capacity to control themselves.Neurological research suggests that prior to age 18, the brain system that regulates impulse and emotion is not necessarily kept in check by logic and reason.Often, teens are missing the neurological brakes that adults have.
Moreover, the mere physical presence of peers increases the likelihood of teens taking risks.While education programs on risky behavior are helpful, psychologists believe that raising the driving age and raising the drinking age does more to curb risky behavior than programs aimed at educating teens on risks.
However, for over 60 years the Ad Council has successfully effected positive social change through communications based on solid research.The Ad Council’s research showed that teen’s need for social connection is his or her most valuable asset.The Ur the Spokesperson campaign is driven by the strength of that peer-to-peer connection.The Ad Council is counting on peer pressure to be utilized as a positive force – to get teens to speak up and stop reckless driving while it is occurring.
The three leading causes of vehicle accidents involving teen drivers are driver error, speeding, and alcohol.Other factors that contribute to teen accidents are talking on cell phones, having other passengers in the car, not recognizing hazards, engaging in risky driving behaviors likespeeding, running red lights, tailgating, and driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.Finally, young drivers are more likely to die in SUV crashes because they don’t appreciate the dangers of rollover accidents.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident involving a teen driver or a driver charged with reckless driving, contact the law firm of Robert N. Katz for a free consultation.