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An unacceptable truth: changing the road safety conversation with young drivers to save those most vulnerable on our roads.

Boehm, K, de Roos, E, Blackwell, R

Young Drivers

ACRS conference 2013

No road deaths are acceptable. But it is an unacceptable truth that the most at risk group of drivers on South Australian roads is also the youngest.

Road crash statistics show us that in the first three months after getting their ‘P’ plate, young male drivers are at their most vulnerable. This is the time when they need the most attention, yet catching their attention (which has never been easy) is getting harder and harder. And even when you can catch their attention, young men aged 16 – 20 are the least receptive of any group to messages about safety because they have an uncommon confidence that common sense will not penetrate.

In 2010, the Motor Accident Commission of South Australia tasked Clemenger BBDO Adelaide with developing an advertising campaign that would impact the incidence of road accidents and deaths among young male ‘P’ platers.

Qualitative research revealed that the loss of a newly gained licence was a key motivator to driving safely. The thought that young people feared social death more than death itself was subsequently leveraged in a way that spoke to young people on their level and challenged them to think about the social consequences driving dangerously could have. The resulting ‘Lose your license and you’re screwed’ advertising campaign was launched in South Australia in 2011 and contributed to positively changing behaviours and a decrease in fatalities in the 16 to 24 year old age group.