Dangerous Driving and The Effects on Youth
In today's society, dangerous driving is criminal and is also considered to be deviant. There are different levels of dangerous driving, all of which have different meaning to different people, some are considered part of the social norm and others are considered to be deviant. Speeding for example is considered to be a norm of society. Everyone speeds and this is not considered a problem which needs societies immediate attention, however there is a line which changes speeding from being a criminal offense to a deviant offense. The following analysis will provide a descriptive summary of the functionalist perspective, the social control theory and the power control theory.
These theories have been applied to a news story in which two young teens from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Renee and Danielle Orichefsky, were killed in a dangerous driving accident. The driver was Ralph Parker, a twenty year old man from Halifax who lost control of his sports car as he attempted to make a turn on the corner where the girls were sitting. This article involves the day of Mr. Park's conviction, the reaction of the girls' parents and also the reaction of Mr. Park's mother.
The problem of dangerous driving as viewed from a theoretical standpoint can easily be identified with the social control theory. The control theory questions not what motivates individuals and society in general to indulge in societal deviant behaviour but rather examines what is within the structure of a society that causes individuals to conform to social laws. A social control theorist would argue that it is social pressures that prevent people from acting out in deviant manners; otherwise people would act upon inborn animal impulses. In this case, Mr. Park it seems felt the need to drive his sports car very fast and dangerously because it catered to his instinctive need for excitement. If Mr. Park had been thinking about the possible consequences of killing two young girls, he may have decided to slow down and be a little more careful. This is because murder is a deviant act in our society and committing murder would not be socially acceptable. Thus it can be concluded that that the structure and organization of society is very influential in determining the conduct of individuals in our society.
There are inner and outer controls related to the theory of social control. Inner controls are considered as norms which have been internalized through the socialization process. They are norms which are learned in the home at a young age, and which are very relevant to an individuals level of self control. The key players in inner controls would of course be the parents. In this article, Mr. Parker's mother is spoken of, but there is no mention of his father. Because there doesn't seem to be a father in this family, a social control theorist might say that this may have had an impact on how Mr. Parker feels about social and criminal laws.
Outer controls might have a strong impact on dangerous driving. That is both formal controls as the threat of conviction and informal controls, such as humiliation in front of friends, family and society as a whole. Society may discount him from being a valuable member of society because his actions are unforgivable by our society's standards. People are frowned upon for reckless driving, and they are shunned for murder, which is how people may interpret this horrible event. Both inner and outer controls are extremely efficient, in suppressing behaviour that is considered to be socially deviant and non- conformist. Thus, according to the social control theory, when the strength of inner and outer controls are powerful and pressuring, the levels of deviance will be lower. On the other hand, if an individual's controls are weak, and outside societal influences are lower, then the level of deviance will increase.
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