Changing the conversation about speeding
Safe Speed is a key element of New Zealand’s safe system approach to road safety, in which no-one should be killed or seriously injured because they have made a mistake. It is important because excessive speed remains a contributing factor in 20% of fatal and serious injury crashes.
Enforcement, supported by advertising with a mixture of fact, emotion, and persuasion, has shifted behaviour over the years, with lower average speeds, fewer drivers exceeding the speed limits, and as a consequence fewer speed-related fatal and serious injuries. However, each year these shifts become more difficult to achieve.
New conversations in a safe system environment need to address concepts such as human vulnerability, social responsibility and the inevitability of mistakes. This paper discusses three pieces of communication within the New Zealand speed campaign which highlight these concepts, and in particular the rationale behind and the reaction to the new “Mistakes” advertisement.
The campaign acknowledges the audience’s belief that they are actually quite good drivers, but that mistakes, even when not their own, can have disastrous consequences. Audience reaction so far has shown a high degree of public interest in this approach to the speed conversation. From surveys of drivers’ attitudes, their responses to tests of advertising ideas during development and to the messages on-air, the approach has revealed widespread support for lower speeds and greater responsibility.
The results will include public reactions and attitude shifts, social media conversations, and any changes in vehicle speeds and crash rates.