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Friday, November 11, 2011

Could Public Campaign Reduce Road Fatalities?

Sustained public information campaigns on road safety can play a crucial role in reducing road fatalities on GCC roads, according to a UK government marketing professional.

Emma Stranack, deputy director of external communications at the Department for Transport in the UK, said that raising and sustaining public awareness of the key risks of speeding, mobile phone use, and not wearing seatbelts, helps change attitudes about road safety, leading to safer and more considerate road behaviour.

Stranack's public campaigns have helped reduce deaths on British roads by 45 per cent in the last decade.

Stranack has led the development and delivery of the UK Government’s THINK! public awareness campaigns on road safety. The campaigns, which include advertising, partnership marketing and digital engagement, have contributed to a reduction of fatalities from 3,409 in 2000 to 1,850 in 2010.

She will be among an expert line-up of road safety experts at the sixth edition of the Gulf Traffic Conference, taking place on December 12 and 13 at the Dubai International Convention and Centre, a statement from the organizers said.

Stranack will provide an overview of the role of communications in UK road safety at the conference, including case study examples of THINK! campaigns covering priority issues such as speeding and wearing seatbelts.

“Research shows that human behavior, rather than vehicle or environmental factors, accounts for the majority of road casualties,” said Stranack. “In addition to legislation and safety engineering measures in vehicles, our experience illustrates that public information campaigns on road safety have a clear role to play in raising awareness of risk, changing attitudes and in creating consent for legislation and enforcement measures, thus generating social norms.

“The issues we have tackled with THINK! are similar to those faced in the Gulf region and I hope that sharing some of the techniques and approaches that have worked in the UK will help contribute to improving road safety in this area of the world,” he said.

Increasing road safety and reducing traffic are top priorities for regional governments, and are the main topics of discussion at the two-day conference. The event will bring together leading regional and international road traffic and transportation experts.

“It is clear that the GCC region is taking road safety seriously and is making good progress in addressing the main issues,” added Stranack. “Events such as Gulf Traffic 2011 should reinforce this by sharing best practice and insight from across the region and by reviewing international case studies to help inform the design of road safety measures.

“As part of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety, I am honoured to represent the UK Department for Transport at the conference and share what we have learned about how communications can help contribute to reducing road casualties,” she said.

Organised by Informa Exhibitions, the conference runs alongside the Gulf Traffic Exhibition, which has so far confirmed an exhibitor line-up of 149 contractors, manufacturers and suppliers from 27 countries in the Middle East and overseas.

Gulf Traffic 2011 is supported by Dubai Police and is held under the patronage of Lt. General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, the statement said.

Source: Trader Arabia

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