Peer Pressure May Help Prevent Teen Drinking and Driving Collisions

Teenagers are inexperienced drivers and, unfortunately, young people sometimes make bad decisions behind the wheel. Teens are the age group most likely to become involved in a motor vehicle accident, and alcohol-related collisions are a top cause of death for young people.

Teens are also the most likely age group to respond to peer pressure. Unfortunately, we all know that peer pressure can negatively influence someone to get behind the wheel after drinking. One study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that teenagers in the car with their friends were more likely to make bad choices and had a significantly greater risk of collisions as a result of riding with their peers. In the study, it was found that “popular” teens usually face the most pressure to use alcoholic beverages and are the most likely to drink in adolescence.

However, what if positive peer pressure can do just the opposite and discourage a teen from driving drunk? The same NIH study revealed that young adults were significantly less likely to drive while impaired if they were part of a peer group that disapproved of driving while under the influence.

Positive peer pressure can make a difference, and young people wishing to make an impact and reduce the problem of teen intoxicated driving should know that it’s important for their voices to be heard. Standing up for what you know is right could ultimately save someone’s life. So, go ahead and peer pressure someone to drive safe today!

Teenage Distracted Driving: Worse Than We Thought?

Teenage distracted driving

New data about the prevalence of distracted driving continues to emerge, and a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reinforces the fact that many people – especially teens – are not paying attention while driving. AAA’s research study data, released in March 2015, found that nearly six out of 10 crashes involving teen drivers were preceded by distractions. Researchers looked at distractions of any kind, including interactions with other passengers, cell phone use and paying attention to anything other than the road ahead.

In the comprehensive study, AAA used video taken by cameras installed in teen drivers’ cars as part of a safe driving program. The video footage revealed that the top two distractions among teens were 1) interacting with one or more passengers in the vehicle and 2) cell phone use. 15 percent of teen drivers were distracted by an interaction with a passenger leading up to a crash, and 12 percent were found to have been distracted by their cell phone. Other significant distractions included looking at something inside or outside the vehicle, singing or dancing to music, grooming and reaching for an object.

The President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Peter Kissinger, said “Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible.” He said that the ability to analyze crash footage provides evidence that teen drivers are distracted even more than we previously realized.

Although Pennsylvania fatality rates involving teens actually decreased from 2009 to 2013, traffic crashes are still the leading cause of death for the teen age group, who has the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. Nationwide, about 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.

Read more about AAA’s new study here.

US DOT Commercial Aims to Stop Texting and Driving

The US Department of Transportation has amped up its mission to end distracted driving by creating a new commercial which graphically depicts the dangers of texting while driving. The commercial, released as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, shows several teenagers riding in a vehicle in which the driver blows a stop sign while being distracted by texting. After the powerful crash scene, a message flashes on the screen stating, “If you’re texting, you’re not driving.” #justdrive

According to the DOT, more than 3,000 people were killed in accidents from distractions and about 421,000 people were injured in 2012. Remember, although texting while driving is certainly dangerous, distracted driving doesn’t always necessarily involve a cell phone. Even a momentary distraction, like talking to passengers or adjusting music, can cause a lifetime of consequences.

How Dangerous is Distracted Driving?

distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the riskiest behaviors on the road today. Thousands of accidents occur every day as a result of distracted driving, and there are likely many more near-misses where someone almost becomes involved in a crash due to lack of attention to the wheel. provides some details on the dangers of distracted driving, which they define as encompassing the use of handheld devices/cell phones; entering data into a GPS; reading; grooming and using in-vehicle controls like music or heating systems.

According to

  • Using a cell phone to send or receive a text while driving ups your chances of becoming involved in a wreck by 23 percent.
  • Texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds.
  • Cell phone use was reported in 18 percent of distraction-related fatalities in America.
  • 40 percent of teenagers have said they had an experience where they were in a car with a driver who was using a cell phone in a way that created a hazard.
  • 11 percent of drivers 20 years old and younger who were in fatal auto accidents were distracted at the time.

Young drivers may be especially vulnerable to the dangers of distracted driving, both because they are more likely to embrace technologies like Smartphones that allow for texting and emailing, and because they are not experienced enough drivers to fully understand the dangers of their behavior.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but it is important for the current generation of young people to grow up with a healthy respect for the dangers of becoming distracted by technology while driving.

Spread the word to stay safe and Arrive Alive!

PA Texting while Driving Ban Isn’t Tough Enough


Mercury editorial cartoon by Alan Macbain

Since Pennsylvania’s texting while driving ban went into effect just over a year ago, some 1,300 texting citations have been issued, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.  The new statute makes it a primary offense for a driver to send a text message while operating a motor vehicle.

The texting ban is certainly a step in the right direction, but many lawmakers and concerned citizens feel that it’s still not enough to prevent distracted driving accidents. Under the new law, it’s still okay to get out your cell phone and dial a number while driving.

Texting while driving ranks the most dangerous distracted driving activity, making you 23 times more likely to crash. However, use of handheld cell phones to receive or make calls and to engage in conversation is just as much a distraction.

Dialing a number while driving makes you 2.8 times more likely to crash, talking or listening on your phone makes you 1.3 times more at risk of an accident, and just reaching for your phone makes you 1.4 times more likely to wreck.

Any type of cell phone use behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster – and whether legal or illegal, you should always put your phone down while driving!