It’s easy to underestimate how distracting passengers can be when a person is driving. But it is a serious matter, particularly for our younger drivers.
Several studies have shown the fatal crash risk for young drivers is higher if they have passengers in the car. With two or more passengers, the risk is 10 times greater compared to driving alone. And the risk is at its greatest when the passengers are the same age as the driver.
Many young drivers view the car as another place to hang out with mates. It’s basically another room or venue and in some cases, the entertainment. When passengers get bored, they may look at ways to start entertaining themselves, such as:
- talking and expecting the driver to engage and look at them
- starting emotional/interesting discussions or sharing gossip
- talking loudly/yelling/screaming at each other or someone outside the car
- turning up the music volume
- applying peer pressure to take risks
- ‘joking around’
- messing around with vehicle controls e.g. mirrors, lights etc.
These examples are all common scenarios and are distractions that can affect a drivers’ ability to concentrate. We need passengers to recognise that they are part of the problem when it comes to driver distraction.
The target audience
This new campaign targets young passengers (18-25 year olds) who are often oblivious to the risk they pose when they distract a driver; especially those who do not yet drive themselves.
We want passengers to consider their role in the car and to think about how their actions could distract a driver. By taking responsibility for their actions when travelling, they could prevent a driver from being distracted.
Part of the campaign launched last week, with large street posters being installed and print ads being run in targeted magazines. A new cinema and online ad called Energy Ball launched today. You can check out the new ads on this page of the Transport Agency website: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/about/advertising/distraction/passenger-distraction.html.