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NHTSA targets young drivers' party choices

Although California parents realize that peer pressure can be difficult for their teen drivers to resist, they also understand that the financial aftermath of a DUI accident can be difficult for the entire family. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also realizes that peer pressure can be a serious influence, and it has used this facet of teen life in its latest public service campaign. Coordinating with the Ad Council and several agencies offering their services pro bono, the NHTSA has taken the idea of a party foul and associated it with impaired driving, comparing the decision to drink and drive to other far less-serious missteps like spilling a drink at a party.

The NHTSA has a knack for developing strong and memorable messaging in its public service campaigns, and the latest example will also take the messaging into contemporary areas of interest to young people as it hosts Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts in addition to a Tumblr website with an excuse generator. While the use of smartphones while driving is discouraged, using one's smartphone to avoid driving while impaired or riding with an impaired driver is an excellent way to meet young people on familiar ground.

The motivation for this campaign is the significant number of teen deaths each year because of auto accidents. In fact, this is the greatest cause of teen deaths in the nation. Nearly one of every four teen drivers involved in a deadly crash is found to have had alcohol in their systems.

Parents cannot follow their teen driver to every activity, but they may work to emphasize the importance of making wise decisions about getting behind the wheel. It is important for teen drivers to be aware that their decision to drink and drive could have severe legal consequences for both them and their parents, possibly including being defendants in a personal injury lawsuit filed by an attorney on behalf of an injured victim.

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