The Eurobodalla Shire is located on the South Coast of NSW. It has a population of approx 36,000 that swells to three times this size at peak vacation times, with people coming to holiday on our beaches and estuaries.
One of the issues that repeatedly appears in our Shire’s Social Planning processes for young people includes the need to address issues around teenage driving.
Our Youth Committee developed a simple project that promoted the well-being and safety of local young people. Their discussions highlighted the lack of great effect that printed promotions have on driving behaviour and felt that a social marketing model of promotion where young people provide the message to young people would be more effective.
The project Steering Young People Straight funded via NRMA Road Safety funds targeted young people over our peak summer holiday period in 2005/06 as a two-pronged marketing project, ie. radio ads (below) at key driving times and cinema advertising prior to every movie (as cinema is one of the major recreational attractions in our area).
It was argued that if the communications are provided in an audio format and targets young people in their vehicles at key times of the day, the key messages will be timely and have a situational effect. With the message being reinforced in a visual manner, we help drivers think about their behaviour and provide a local value for our future drivers also exposed to the messages.
- To reduce the incidence of youth casualties and fatalities in the Eurobodalla Shire caused by vehicle accidents over key holiday periods.
- To increase young people’s knowledge of the main causes of youth related vehicle accidents
- To involve young people in the public promotion of community messages
- To increase young people’s skills and knowledge in working with the media and developing and presenting age appropriate information.
- To reduce the number of young driver infringements issued for speeding and illegal alcohol levels.
The Youth Committee spent the $5,000 and several months workshopping the content of the ads in collaboration with local road safety experts. They wanted the messages to be confronting and to target the key issues effecting local young people. The key areas targeted were:
- Blood alcohol levels – Reminding ‘P’ platers that they should have a ‘0′ level and that the day after a party that they may still be over the limit.
- Experience – targeting mum and dad to give young people more opportunities for driving experiences
- Decisions – Reminding young people to think about who they are getting in a car with especially if the driver has had a couple of drinks
- Peer pressure – the results of impressing your mates can lead to losing your mates.
- Risk taking – Reminding drivers to think about the consequences of taking risks whilst driving eg. texting, not wearing seatbelt.
The Committee auditioned representatives to provide the voice-overs for the ads and spent time in the local radio studio producing the ads.
The same brief was developed with our local cinema owners who sponsored the development of quality digital visual ads. The cinema owners actually gave the project a high number of free screenings over the project time, which went beyond the expectation of the project.
The advertising also helped to promote our youth committee being active in the community.
Anecdotally we have checked with police about youth traffic offences during this time and we believe that this project, along with other RTA, NRMA and police initiatives, contributed towards the decrease in reported offences.