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The Western Cape made a shocking road safety ad and it worked

2016-06-14 14:15

SHOCK TACTICS: The Western Cape transport department says its 'First Kiss' campaign has resulted in a 161% increase in drivers and passengers buckling up in certain areas within the province. Image: YouTube

Cape Town - In March 2016, Wheels24 reported on the Western Cape's controversial safety campaign, called 'First Kiss', aimed at showing the potential danger of unbuckled passengers in cars.

'First Kiss' was released as part of the Western Cape's road safety division, Safely Home, theme from March 2016, using the hashtag #BeTheChange.

In May 2016, the department reports its campaign has been a huge success claiming a six-week survey revealed a "161% increase" in rear-seat passenger seat-belt compliance.

The department reports a "27.5% increase in overall seat-belt compliance" while passenger fatalities for May 2016 are down "30% compared to 2014, 2015 numbers".

READ: W Cape traffic resorts to shock tactics

At the core of the campaign is a hard-hitting TV commercial showing the consequences of not buckling up. While it won two advertising industry awards, it was also subject to heated public discussion both for and against its effectiveness, with criticism levelled at the graphic portrayal of road deaths on TV.

Remember this shocking ad? You might have seen it on TV, cinema or online:


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Western Cape MEC of Transport and public works, Donald Grant, says: "Four seatbelt compliance surveys were conducted at four major intersections in the City of Cape Town prior to launch of the ad. These surveys were ‘snap counts’, i.e. conducted by actual observation of driver and passenger behaviour, not from self-reported behaviour.

"These surveys, based on observation of vehicle occupants, found an overall compliance of 40%. Six weeks into the campaign, these four surveys were repeated at the same intersections.

Read the full report here.

Overall compliance rose to 51%, an increase of 11% compared to pre-campaign surveys, reports the department. This translates to a 27.5% improvement overall.

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Seatbelt compliance surveys results by the Western Cape transport department:

Pre-Campaign vs 6 Weeks into campaign
Overall 40%  -   51% (+27.5%)
Drivers 50% - 56% (+12%)
Front passengers 32% - 48% (+50%)
Rear passengers  13% - 34% (+161.5%)

These improvements were driven mainly by road-user behaviour change in Belville, the Central Business District (CBD) and Mitchell’s Plain, though with less effect in Khayelitsha, despite a concentration of outdoor advertising supporting the commercial ads in the area.

Read the full report here.

Grant says: "This aspect of the campaign has been extremely influential in how we design the research into our next TV advertising campaign, which is centred on our #BoozeFreeRoads theme for November, December and January. It is also driving the development of a new activation of “First Kiss” for September’s #AlwaysBuckleUp theme.

"We will be repeating the surveys six months after the campaign, and testing public perception and behaviour again in the annual Safely Home Attitudinal Survey later in the year. 

"We will also be analysing fatalities and injury data as these become available to track this impact. So far the data is extremely promising, as passenger fatality numbers from May 2016 (20) were 30% below passenger fatalities numbers for both May 2014 and May 2015 (both 26), although the department cautions against drawing conclusions regarding this aspect of the campaign impact. Much more data will need to be accumulated and analysed."

Read more on:    safely home

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