Peer Pressure Can Be Positive Force for Teenage Drivers

Peer Pressure Can Be Positive Force for Teenage Drivers
Peggy Conlon, President & CEO, The Advertising Council Inc. - New York

USA TODAY’s article “Expert: Risky teen behavior is all in the brain” discussed the role peer pressure plays in how likely a teen is to take risks. But peer pressure also can be used as a positive force (Life, April 5).

For more than 60 years, the Ad Council has successfully effected positive social change through communications based on solid research.

Because reckless driving is the No. 1 cause of teen deaths, we did extensive research to find an effective way to stem the problem.

Similar to the article’s findings, our research showed that a teenager’s need for social connection is his or her most valuable asset.

Our new “UR the Spokesperson” campaign is driven by the strength of that peer-to-peer social connection.

We also found that while they feel invincible, teen passengers will speak up if threatened by a friend’s driving, therefore becoming the “spokesperson.” Because of the strength of the social connection, the teen driver will listen.

Rather than inferring that peer pressure is always a negative force, we as a society should utilize this knowledge to inform teen outreach and help young people learn to help each other.

Posted at 12:09 AM/ET, April 12, 2007

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