Road Safety Essay

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THE DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF ROAD SAFETY PUBLICITY CAMPAIGNS

INTRODUCTION This note discusses some basic principals of the data-led design of publicity campaigns, the main issues that need to be considered at each stage, and the need for evaluation. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but gives some guidance in this area. Road safety publicity can be used to achieve various aims and objectives. In general, the aims of such publicity are to change the road users behaviour, attitude or knowledge in order to increase road safety. However, usually, “road safety campaigns can succeed if advertising is only one of the elements in the campaign and usually not the key element” (Elliott, 1989). According to Elliott, mass media campaigns can achieve the following: • • • • • increase awareness of a problem or a behaviour; raise the level of information about a topic or issue; help form beliefs, especially where they are not firmly held; make a topic more salient and sensitise the audience to other forms of communication; stimulate interpersonal influences via conversations with others (e.g. Police, teachers, or parents); • generate information seeking by individuals; and • reinforce existing beliefs and behaviours. One of the problems in using publicity measures is that people, on the whole, are resistant to change, especially when there is no apparent personal gain for them to do so. A driver who has operated a vehicle after drinking alcohol on many occasions without incident does not perceive the reasons why he/she should not drink and drive as urged by a poster or TV commercial. An additional difficulty to be overcome is that there is not usually the opportunity for face-to-face interaction. The design and evaluation of publicity campaigns can be summarised in the flow diagram reproduced as Figure 1. IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM (DATA-LED APPROACH) Historically, in many countries road safety publicity campaigns have not been approached in a scientific manner. While...

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