Dr. Julie Andsager
Participation year
Project title

Adolescent Drinking and Driving Prevention: Creating an Effective Message


Drivers ages 15-20 were responsible for 14% of fatal crashes in the US and alcohol is estimated to be involved in 41% of all fatal crashes. The relative risk of being involved in a drunken driving crash is greater for young people than it is for older people. The purpose of this study is to find out what would qualify as an effective message against drunk driving directed toward adolescents. Method: Two focus groups, male and female, age range from 15-19 in Pullman, Washington. The students were selected to participate via snowball sampling and the groups were conducted in May 2004. The focus groups lasted approximately two hours each. Results: A common reason among the groups was that driving home while intoxicated is necessary when they themselves are their only way to get home. Participants fear the scrutiny of their parents more than any legal action or school disciplinary action. Participants said that the most effective kind of message would be one that is realistic. Conclusion: This research found that adolescents' lives is also an important factor in decreasing the drinking rate. Gender differences are also important to tap into when trying to create an effective message. Making a message that is realistic would seem to be the most important factor in creating an effective message.

Beverly  Gooden
Hampton University