ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Raising Awareness of Driver Distraction in Western Australia

Baird, D, Kay, R

Hazard Perception & Inattention


Raising Awareness of Driver Distraction in Western Australia What is Driver Distraction? Driver distraction, then, may be defined as the diversion of attention away from activities critical for safe driving toward a competing activity . Driver distraction is an emerging road safety issue, and is being increasingly ranked by road safety authorities around the world as a significant contributing factor to road trauma alongside speeding, drink-driving and fatigue. Crash Statistics and Crash Estimates It has been estimated that distraction played a role in 32% of all road crash deaths and serious injuries in Western Australia between 2005 and 2007. This is consistent with the results of a recent study of serious crashes in Perth which found that one-third of all the crashes studied involved a distracting activity. What are we doing about Driver Distraction? Driver Distraction has been identified as an emerging road safety issue in Towards Zero, Western Australia's road safety strategy for 2008 “ 2020. As identified in Towards Zero, the Office of Road Safety on behalf of the Road Safety Council will continue to develop a range of community education campaigns for the established behaviours as well as this emerging problem area. The goal of the driver distraction campaign is to raise public awareness of the dangers of in-car distractions while driving. Campaign Target Audience The initial target audience will be all road users. Crashes happen everyday, many of them occur because drivers and riders are distracted. Campaign Elements In order to raise awareness of driver distraction, the following mass media elements were produced for this campaign: ¢ a new 30 second television commercial; ¢ a series of radio commercials; ¢ Bus-back advertising; and ¢ Billboards. Campaign Evaluation The key objective of the campaign was to communicate the risks associated with being distracted whilst driving. The initial phase of the campaign ran Statewide. The evaluation was conducted by independent market research company Synovate in Perth, Western Australia. Synovate conducted an on-line survey with a sample of 424 respondents aged 17 years and over. The sample was split between metropolitan (n=316) and regional (n=108) residents. Data was collected from 10 to 18 November 2010. There is widespread and increasing knowledge of driver distractions as a major issue, and of the risk of serious consequences. ¢ Driver distraction is now considered a major problem on WA roads, by the same proportion of people that rate drink driving and speeding as major problems. ¢ More than 80% of people acknowledge the likelihood of serious consequences as a result of driver distractions. The campaign itself has performed reasonable well on measures of recall, and while this measure was lower than some other road safety campaigns, the impacts achieved by this campaign clearly demonstrate its effectiveness.