A recent ad campaign targets, for the first time, underage drinkers who drive. Although young people who drink and drive have long been a focus of campaigns urging safety, people under the age of 21 have not been a specific focus.
Accidents in motor vehicles are the number one cause of fatalities among teenagers nationwide. Nearly half of people under the age of 20 who are killed in vehicle collisions are the drivers. Although the legal age for drinking is 21 across the country, nearly 25% of drivers under 21 in fatal crashes registered positive for alcohol in their bloodstreams, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The ad campaign will term drinking and driving a “party foul,” and is made to look as if it’s shot on a smart phone by a party-goer. The plan is to make the idea as well-known as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” which were similar ad campaigns, but did not target the underaged specifically. It is estimated that the former tag line is recognized by 90% of American adults.
In addition, the campaign has a public education component. First, a web site, ultimatepartyfoul.org, explains more about the potential fallout from underage drinking and driving and, crucially, provides ways to avoid drinking and driving. It also provides an Excuses Generator, an innovative tool that literally gives suggestions to teenagers on what to say to people who are going to drive when they have been drinking.