Inj Prev 12:i38-i43 doi:10.1136/ip.2006.012864
  • The science of safe driving among adolescents

Social marketing: an overview of approach and effects

  1. W A Smith
  1. Correspondence to:
 W A Smith
 Executive Vice President, Academy for Educational Development, 1825 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA; bsmith{at}
  • Accepted 27 April 2006


This paper reviews the applicability of commercial and social marketing to teen driving safety. It draws on a wide range of information, including evaluation studies of specific programs as well as standards of practice within these two professions. Social marketing has been widely applied for more than three decades in the fields of public health, environmental protection, and political marketing with significant success. The paper attempts to distinguish between the practice of commercial marketing, whose goal is profit, and the practice of social marketing, whose goal is societal benefit. Issues of sustainability, segmentation, differences in behavioral characteristics, and cultural competence are discussed with specific examples drawn from the transportation safety literature. The paper suggests that social marketing represents a viable companion to control and education approaches to behavior change to promote teen driving safety.


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