The media’s attitude towards young people’s driving behaviour is a complex issue. Due to stereotypes common in media reporting, as well as the behaviour of young people themselves, young people are often portrayed in the media as dangerous drivers who take unnecessary risks. These stereotypes are an important aspect in the public’s perception of young people’s driving behaviour. Some examples of stereotypes often encountered are that young people are always prone to risk taking when they are driving, they often drive after drinking or taking drugs therefore the restriction law for young drivers is demanding. These media stereotypes are often accompanied by the message that it is crucial to restrict young people’s driving to avoid the occurrence of car accidents. In this essay, the objectivity of TV and newspaper media reporting on young people’s driving will be analysed, and the implications of such reporting, both in terms of the public’s perception and practical outcomes, will be considered. The evaluation indicates that even though stereotypes are effective in reducing the rate of young people’s car accidents to a limited extent, predominating stereotypes are less empirical and more subjective when evident in reporting on young people’s driving behaviour. This reinforces negative perceptions, misleading the public in the search for solutions to young drivers’ high accident rates, further exacerbating this very real problem.
Even though the media report a lot about young people’s driving behaviour, the effectiveness of this reporting in reducing car accidents is poor. According to the media, young drivers are blamed with causing unnecessary fatalities and car accidents among most developed countries (Blows, Ivers&Chapman,2005, p.1).Behind this portrayal, there exist stereotypes which affect the objectivity of the media’s representation of young people’s driving behaviour. The essence of most stereotypes presented in the media is that young people’s metal and physical immature is the reason which make young people become risk-taker and their actions may endanger their own lives as well as others in society (Blows, Ivers &Chapman,2005,p.2). Nevertheless, even though older generations may have less traffic accidents, research indicates that age is not related to risk-taking behaviour in traffic (Calafat et al., 2009). In addition, stereotypes such as the danger of young people’s driving, irresponsible drunk-driving behaviour and driving under the influence of illicit drugs are consistent themes. However, it has been proved that the reports don’t have any direct association with reduction of young people’s dangerous driving behaviour (Yanovitzky, 2002). However, stereotypical reporting of young people’s driving after they take drugs or alcohol does help reduce young people’s car accidents in some particular situations. It is evident that the media’s reporting of alcohol and driving is effective in reducing accident rates (Elder et al., 2004). So, it can be concluded that media’s report of young people’s bad driving behaviour will reduce young people’s dangerous driving behaviour to some extent. To sum up, media has a passive effect in reducing car accidents though some reports might have a positive effect on reducing young people’s car accidents. Besides the media’s poor effect in reducing car accidents, there are still other side effects due to these ‘stereotypes ‘especially the effects on public. The problem is ‘stereotypes’ may make the problem of young people’s risk-taking driving even worse by simply blaming young people are irresponsible drivers for causing traffic accident therefore lead the public to overlook important reasons for young people’s high crash rate in the debate to solve the car accident problem in society. In other words, ‘stereotypes’ may not solve the problem properly because there are many negative effects when these ‘stereotypes’ are being used. Even though media keeps...
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