A new road safety advertising campaign is directly challenging speeding drivers to slow down and stop defending their perceived ‘right’ to speed.
The joint NZ Transport Agency/Police campaign addresses the significant proportion of the driving population who still like to travel at speeds which are too fast for the conditions, on the open road and around town, posing a risk to themselves and to others who share the roads with them.
“Every week, 11 people are seriously injured or killed in a speed-related crash on New Zealand roads, but a substantial portion of our society does not see the connection between speed and crashes,” says NZ Transport Agency Director of Safety and Environment Harry Wilson.
“That needs to change, because the facts and the physics are indisputable. Speed is always a crucial factor in determining the severity of the crash and the severity of the injuries to the people involved. The simple and inescapable truth is that less speed means less harm in a crash.”
Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Sandra Venables says the consequences of people driving too fast for the conditions can be devastating.
“Police officers see the human cost of speed nearly every day on our roads. Crashes occur due to a wide range of mistakes, whether involuntary or deliberate, but the outcome is vastly different at different speeds.
“Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it is the single biggest determinant in whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed. A small change in speed makes a big difference to injury severity.
“Our plea to all drivers this year is to be courteous and slow down, to make sure you get to your destination safely.”
The target audience
The new campaign targets competent male drivers aged between 35-60 years, who regularly drive a bit fast and are not keen on being asked to slow down.
They routinely drive at speeds above the limit and travel faster than the traffic around them. They’re confident in their driving ability and the fact that nothing untoward is likely to happen. They recognise that speed can affect the outcome of a crash but don’t see this as an issue they need to concern themselves with.
They want to see less harm on our roads – they’re happy that Police enforce our roads but they believe Police aren’t focusing on the right things; ‘speed isn’t the issue‘. They’re convinced that they themselves are very good drivers; they want Police to stop picking on them and focus on ’the bad drivers who cause crashes’.
Recent advertising has aimed to shift speeding drivers’ and the wider public’s attitudes about speed, taking the safe system approach with messages about human fragility and the inevitability of mistakes.
The campaign has a role too in reminding people that reducing violations is also a part of the safe system, and that enforcement may be needed to encourage compliance and ultimately reduce harm.
So, this new campaign aims to get the audience to accept the role of speed enforcement – to understand that the role of the Police is to protect those who use the road by dealing with anything that might cause harm.
It aims to get the audience to see that enforcement has more to do with reducing harm than it does with tickets and fines.
The campaign launched on 7 January 2018.