"Zero Tolerance Means Zero Chances" is Favored Slogan for Teen Drunk Driving Campaign

Developing messages to reduce impaired driving by teens

In 1998–1999, the National Commission Against Drunk Driving developed a message aimed at teenagers for a pilot public education campaign about the "zero tolerance" law in Texas, which makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with a measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system.

During the mid- to late-1990s, states across the country adopted zero tolerance laws in response to an increase in alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teenagers; the specific penalties vary from state to state.

Key Results

Under subcontracts from the commission, Scholastic and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide conducted four focus groups in Dallas to identify and test various zero tolerance messages on teenagers, parents, and educators.

  • Of the slogans and graphics tested, participants preferred the phrase "Zero Tolerance Means Zero Chances," stated in bold block letters with an image of a skidding car imposed on it.
  • The slogan and logo were distributed to local print and broadcast media, peer-to-peer student counselors, high school newspaper editors, community advocates, and selected law enforcement professionals.
  • A tool kit using the logo and a modified version of the slogan ("Zero Tolerance Means Zero Tragedies") was distributed to nearly 1,000 driver's education programs throughout Texas.
  • Pre- and post-campaign polls conducted by Common Knowledge under a subcontract indicated an increased awareness and understanding of the zero tolerance law among Dallas-area teenagers.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project with a $949,636 grant.

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