CAN a tweet stop a teenage boy from drink-driving? Can a wistful image about grief on Pinterest lead a young woman to tell her boyfriend to slow down behind the wheel?
Victoria's Transport Accident Commission desperately hopes so, having admitted after the deaths of two boys and a girl in a car smash in Coolaroo just before midnight on Wednesday that its conventional road safety campaigns fail to influence many young people.
The commission is set to launch a social media campaign next month, which will try to use teen peer pressure to discourage risky driving.
"There's always going to be a small minority that we can't get through to," TAC chief executive Janet Dore said after the smash, "unless the community and peer pressure exerts its influence, because clearly the TAC can't do 100 per cent of the work."
To that end, the new social media campaign will seek to have young people do the work themselves.
Called "Home Safe", it will be launched in the Christmas season and will call on teens to produce their own road safety slogans, specifically targeted intervention-style at their friends. For example, digital roadside signs would tweet personal messages for people known to be driving along that road.
Ms Dore said the TAC was taking an increasingly experimental approach to using social media in a bid to get through to teens, its most resistant potential audience.
"We are trying any new ways that we possibly can to get the message across," she said.
Last month, it also quietly launched a small social media campaign aimed at young women on emerging social media platform Pinterest.
Called "I'd hate to plan your funeral. #slowdown" the campaign is based around a series of photographic images of "all the things you'll need to consider when planning a loved one's funeral" and aims to influence women to exert peer pressure on their male friends.
The TAC spent almost $49 million last financial year on its road safety campaigns and activities. Its head of road safety and marketing, John Thompson, said the campaigns mostly target young men, because they are the most over-represented age group in the crash statistics.
"This accident last night was one out of the box. It's not common to see a young girl behind the wheel in a crash like that," Mr Thompson said.
Opposition roads spokesman Luke Donnellan said recruiting teenagers to spread road safety messages was a good strategy.
"It takes kids to get through to kids," Mr Donnellan said. "Adults are probably a bit out of touch with what resonates with kids."