ANCHOR LEAD: WHEN PROMINENT CELEBRITIES DRIVE DRUNK, HOW SHOULD THE NEWS MEDIA HANDLE IT? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Alcohol and driving don’t mix, and the combination is especially lethal for young drivers. Katherine Smith, an injury prevention expert at Johns Hopkins, says an important opportunity to educate young drivers is missed when celebrities who drink and drive are glamorized, as she’s shown in a recent study.
SMITH: In 2005 there were over 2000 youth aged between 15 and 20 killed in alcohol related crashes and alcohol-related crashes accounted for approximately 30% of all fatal traffic accidents involving teen drivers, so it’s really a very serious issue, and it’s something we need to be concerned about , we need to be taking every opportunity to get the message out and these are events that we know are covered widely and they’re covered in the kinds of media that young people are tuned into. :27
Smith says her study found that celebrities were shown on runways and in evening dress along with arrest photos, but suggests that pictures of cars decimated by crashes would be more appropriate and helpful. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.