Prof. Brian K. Owler MB BS BSc(Med)(Hons) PhD FRACS Adult & Pediatric Neurosurgeon
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Prof. Owler's RTA Road Trauma Campaign

The 'Don't Rush' road safety campaign

Don't Rush – Phase 1 – Multiple Choices, Phase 2 Testimonials

Overview

The new Don't Rush campaign has two phases; Phase 1 Multiple Choices and Phase 2 Testimonials. Both campaigns feature Professor Brian Owler from the Australian Medical Association NSW Branch to speak first hand on behalf of frontline staff who are directly impacted by the consequences of road trauma. Both phases highlight the human and emotional costs associated with unsafe driving behaviours.

Phase 1 Multiple Choices is used in key holiday periods and supports other enforcement style campaigns also aired at that time. It features the Professor filmed in his customary location, the surgery theatre, talking directly to camera. The Professor presents a simple questionnaire with two potential responses for each question. He appeals to the rational side of the viewer's brain and while there is really only one choice, the professor has too often has seen the outcome when these questions are answered wrongly.

Phase 2 Testimonials features a real road crash survivor and his family, friends and other real community members impacted by speeding related crashes. It delivers an emotional message in reminding drivers of the serious consequences of unsafe driving with the individuals featured stating "I wish I wasn't in this ad". The campaign builds on the impact of featuring medical professionals, again using Professor Owler in delivering the line "I wish I wasn't in this ad".

Links to the 'Dont Rush' campaign videos are at the bottom of this page.

Behavioural Issues & Facts/ Figures

Speeding remains the biggest single road safety issue on NSW roads.  At least 46 per cent (or 207) of all fatalities in 2009 were speed-related, compared with 152 in 2008 and 140 in 2007. This represents a 48 per cent increase in speed related fatalities since 2007.

Each year there are approximately 700,000 speeding offences recorded in the RTA DRIVES database. This is a good measure of the actual speeding behaviour of drivers.

Driver fatigue is also a significant factor in contributing to the road toll. Driver fatigue can occur in any driver of any age.  Below are some key fatal crash statistics in relation to fatigue (based on fatigue data collected 2005-2009):

  • Fatal crashes involving fatigued motor vehicle controllers are more likely to happen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays than on other days in the week
  • The risk of a fatal fatigue crash is highest between 10pm and 6am when the body's circadian rhythms are  programming sleep – four times greater than for the rest of the day
  • 79 per cent of all fatal fatigue crashes occur on country roads

Aim

The proposed campaign is presented in two phases, one to be run holiday periods and the other to run outside of holidays. The objectives of the campaign are consistent for both phases:

  • Reinforce the crash consequences of speeding
  • Contribute to an overall reduction in the road toll
  • Develop community consciousness around the emotional and physical impact on others as a result of road trauma
  • Reinforce the importance of speed compliance amongst all drivers with an emphasis on males
  • Encourage community vigilance amongst peers in speaking out against others in their peer group who don't stick to the road rules

Target Audience

Primary:

The primary audience is those drivers featured in speed-related crashes and are characterised by the following:

  • Speed-related crashes in NSW are predominantly a male problem. Fatal crash data for the most recent five-year period (2004-2008) was analysed to identify the distinguishing characteristics of speed-related crashes and the motor vehicle drivers who were considered speeding
  • Of all drivers involved in fatal speed-related  crashes:
    • 82 percent were male
    • 40 percent were males under 30
    • 26 percent were males 30-49
  • Slightly more than half (55 per cent) of all licences in NSW are held by males and there are two distinct age groups driving the over-representation of speeding male motor vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes. These are:
    • speeding male drivers in the young age group (aged under 30 years)
    • speeding male drivers in the median age group (aged 30-49 years)
  • Based on these data, the primary target age for this campaign is males aged 20 – 49 years

Secondary:

The secondary audience is drivers featured in fatigue related crashes. Fatigued drivers are characterised by the following:

  • The majority of drivers involved in fatigue related fatal crashes in NSW are male (81 per cent).
  • Most of the fatigued drivers and motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes are aged 40 years or more (61 per cent).

The secondary target audience also includes all NSW drivers because this is a whole of community message.

Key Message

The key message of the campaign is "Don't Rush". This message is appropriate for speeding and driver fatigue. Other campaign messages include:

  • There are consequences for speeding
  • Speeding is socially unacceptable
  • Driving to the road conditions will reduce opportunity for a crash
  • Unsafe driving impacts on more than the individuals involved in the crash
  • Stop. Revive. Survive

Campaign media

The campaign uses television as the key media channel supported by radio, road side billboards, print, and online advertising. Online users are directed to the RTA Slow Down Pledge initiative where they can view Professor Owler taking the slow down pledge and are encouraged to take the slow down pledge for themselves.

Evaluation

The campaign is being evaluated throughout the campaign periods to determine the campaign effectiveness and highlight any areas that can be developed to further ensure its success in future periods.

'Dont Rush' videos

Don't Rush… Don't Rush… - NSW Doctor


Road Accidents and Brain Injury

February 3, 2011

Sydney-based neurosurgeon Professor Brian Owler is the man behind the RTA's latest road safety campaign.  You've probably seen his face on the billboards and TV commercials that encourage motorists not to rush.

What you may not know is that the idea for the campaign came about after a particularly gruesome weekend at Westmead Children's Hospital where several children actually died as a result of road accidents.

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