Peer pressure has been blamed for a lot over the years: underage drinking, smoking and cheating on schoolwork, just to name a few. At times, however, peer pressure can be used for good. In fact, a recent study by Consumer Reports shows that peer pressure may go far in getting teenage drivers to stop texting while behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a real problem in New York, especially because a driver that isn't paying attention to the road could easily cause a serious car crash.
When someone is hurt in a car accident, he or she may wish to hold the driver accountable for his or her injuries. When that driver is only a teenager and was busy texting in the moments leading up to the crash, it may be much easier to prove driver negligence. Luckily, there is new evidence that shows that teenage drivers are much less likely to text or talk on their cellphones when they have a friend in the car.
Consumer reports surveyed over 1,000 16- to 21-year-olds, 27 percent of whom said they text while driving, and found that about half of them said they wouldn't use their cellphones if their friends were in the car with them. Surprisingly, it was not that they had no reason to use their phones, but rather because of peer pressure and social stigma that they were less likely to use their phones. Many teens reported that they have previously asked friends not to text and drive.
Texting and driving is extremely dangerous for the people on New York's roads, as well as for the drivers who are so distracted by their phones that they cause an accident. Approximately 11 percent of the 3,115 teenagers who died in car accidents in 2010 were distracted. So, if peer pressure is getting drivers to stop texting, it is something to be celebrated.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Can teens prevent friends from texting and driving?" Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, May 30, 2012