“Everybody’s Doing It"
The misconception of, “everybody’s doing it,” is deep-rooted in teen culture, and can be detrimental if the “it” is something harmful. However, this mentality is not without its use. Young people have credibility with young people. Teens look to other teens for cues on how to act, dress, speak, etc. so why wouldn’t they look to other teens to determine what is and is not acceptable driving behavior?
Although parents remain the number one influencer of teen driving behavior and attitudes, it would be shortsighted to overlook the power of peer-to-peer messaging. It is not enough to just engage parents in the issue of driving safety, because positive peer norms are instrumental to change culture. The more teens see other teens taking a stand against reckless and distracted driving—promoting safe driving (“everybody’s doing it”)—the more they will conceptualize safe driving as a desirable practice and follow suit.
Impact Teen Drivers, as an organization, is pro teen. In every presentation or training, instead of talking at them, preaching or scolding, we work to connect with teens emotionally and empower them to make good decisions as a passenger and a driver. We also leave them with the tools to spread the message—free access to our resources.
Impact Teen Drivers has a multitude of activity and discussion guides to help teens become leaders on traffic safety issues in their community. We offer the Create Real Impact Contest, which hinges on using peer-to-peer messaging to promote solutions to reckless and distracted driving. Social media is an important outlet through which to reach teens, which is why we have a Twitter account specifically for a teen audience, and why our contest, Create Real Impact, has on online voting component.
Our ultimate goal is to change the culture of driving to one that is distraction-free, and we believe that a multifaceted approach is the recipe to attain this. Positive peer norming is a key ingredient.
Teen Website: www.WhatDoYouConsiderLethal.com
Bi-annual Contest Website: www.CreateRealImpact.com
Consider bringing a Lead the Leaders event to your school or community, to train teen leaders on how to fine-tune their peer-to-peer traffic safety efforts ImpactTeenDrivers.org/about/our-efforts/lead-the-leaders