In Young Driver Interventions, fear simply doesn't work

Using fear to try and shock has no positive influence on young people's behaviour.

Why you should avoid using fear

It might seem logical that shocking images, stories or footage would have a positive impact on someone’s behaviour.

However, whilst this kind of material does have an emotional effect, all the evidence says that it doesn’t influence young people’s behaviour in a way that’s useful.

Fear doesn’t bring solutions

Put simply, no matter how appealing it might be, fear doesn’t produce a set of actions that someone can take to avoid the situation happening in the first place.

For example…

  • An intervention shows the end result of a crash involving a drunk driver
  • It’s logical to assume that a young person will choose not to do this – i.e. drink and drive – in future because of the outcome
  • In reality, it’s not engaging and doesn’t teach them how to manage situations where they might think about drink driving in the future

Lots of attention for little outcome

Using fear to change behaviour can attract a lot of attention, particularly on social media. However, this still doesn’t mean that it has a positive impact on driver behaviour.

A lot of young people are resistant to this type of approach, as they simply don’t believe it’ll happen to them.

What’s more, using fear can be disturbing and upsetting for some people, and even thought of as unethical.

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