NHTSA announces teen driver safety initiative

Previous campaigns that warned of the hazards of buzzed driving or reminded us that friends do not allow their friends to drive drunk were highly successful at drawing attention to the problem of drunk driving in Washington and around the country. Buoyed by these successes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has joined forces with the Ad Council for another road safety campaign, and this time the goal is to reduce the number of teens killed or injured each year in drunk driving accidents.

Traffic accidents are the leading killer of American teens, and NHTSA data reveals that nearly a quarter of the teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes each year have alcohol in their bloodstreams. The new campaign was launched as part of the National Teen Driver Safety Week in October 2015, and it features public service announcements backed up by website banner advertising and roadside billboards.

Television spots will compare the kind of mishaps that occur at parties, such as tripping over or spilling food and drink, with the far more serious consequences of drinking and driving. The campaign will also warn teens about the serious impact that a drunk driving conviction could have on their college and employment prospects. NHTSA and the Ad Council hope that using popular social media platforms and setting up a website on Tumblr will allow them to reach even more young people.

Teens who get behind the wheel after drinking and who subsequently cause an accident that injures others may face criminal penalties, and personal injury attorneys may also initiate legal proceedings against their parents or insurance companies. Accident victims are often unable to earn a paycheck for significant periods as they recover from auto injuries, and lawsuits filed on their behalf may seek compensation for their lost income as well as their property damage and medical bills.