DWI Prevention: The Prevention Collaborative
In 1996, a group
of seven private and public colleges in the Twin Cities formed a collaborative
with the goal of achieving a quantifiable reduction in the number of
students reporting impaired driving (Hellstrom, 2003). This DWI prevention
campaign, which was funded by a three-year grant from the Minnesota
Department of Public Safety (Office of Traffic Safety), used the social
norms approach to communicate the fact that the clear majority of students
were making safe and healthy choices about drinking and driving. The
Collaborative achieved a 13% reduction in student-reported DWI over
the course of the project.
Many of the methods
employed to communicate the very simple normative message—"Most
students prevent DWI"—were very traditional: posters, table
tents, stickers, etc. In the third year of the project, specific data
about the reduced incidence of DWI were also incorporated into the media
("That's and 18% reduction. Way to go!"), as were specific
tips for preventing DWI, such as walking home, calling a cab, and using
a designated driver.
data also showed significant reductions in other measures as well.
Specifically, there was:
- A 20% reduction
in the incidence of heavy episodic drinking
- A 32% reduction
in public misconduct resulting from AOD use, and
- A 13% reduction
in underage drinking
occurred even though they were not stated objectives of the project
and, more importantly, no messages were disseminated regarding these
particular issues. It is interesting to note that "the more active
the campus was with the initiative, the greater their gains. For example,
one campus that infused [normative] messages into new student orientation,
parent orientation, RA trainings, etc. experienced a 40% reduction in
DWI, whereas a school that merely posted the materials experienced an
8% decrease" (The Peer Educator, p. 9).
"Reducing Risk: The Prevention Collaborative's Positive Social
Norming Campaign." Conference presentation at the National Conference
on the Social Norms Model, July 17, 2003, Boston, MA.
and Social Norms: The Key to Reducing Impaired Driving Among College
Students in Minneapolis/St. Paul." The Peer Educator,
October 2002, Vol. 25, No.3.
of the information presented on this page were originally prepared by Michael
Haines and Richard Rice and are printed here with their permission.