Help Forum

Help requested posted on 1st August 2017:

Fatal Crash Texts

I work for a road safety initiative in the North East and we're currently creating an awareness campaign based around "the last text". I was wondering if there would be any resources available to acquire any "last texts" from people who may have been sending a text whilst driving before being involved in a fatal car incident? I know it's a very grim request but it's an awareness campaign to discourage the use of mobile phones and other distractions whilst driving so would be hugely beneficial.

James Russell

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Response posted on 1st August 2017 by:
Peter Wilson

E: pwilson@westminster.gov.uk
T: 0207 641 2016

Fatal Crash Texts

Many road safety partnerships use their police members to encourage relatives of deceased young drivers to talk with audiences from schools about their experiences. This can only be done after any court case or appeal. Asking for text messages may be easier that asking for a personal appearance as in the past we have had parents who at the last minute change their mind. This must be treated with respect and consideration.
Alternatively I have seen campaign proposals where the advertising agency has created a text conversation where the last text message was purposefully left incomplete.
Speak with your police contacts.


Response posted on 1st August 2017 by:
Elizabeth Box

E: elizabeth.box@racfoundation.org
T:

Fatal Crash Texts

Hi, I do not have any advice on the specifics of the campaign you are developing, but wanted to highlight a report we published earlier this year 'Using Behavioural Change Techniques: Guidance for the Road Safety Community' by Dr Fiona Fylan. This is available to read and download free of charge on our website http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/Using_behaviour_change_techniques_Guidance_for_the_road_safety_community.pdf I would urge you to read this guidance, if you have not already done so, to make sure that the intervention you are developing is based on research and has the greatest chance of changing behaviours.


Response posted on 1st August 2017 by:
Gary Doggett

E: gary.doggett@Extern.org
T: 0860754695

Fatal Crash Texts

Hi James. Unfortunately I can't help you with such texts, however,I'm currently putting together a Driver Intervention Programme for young drivers and came across this website. https://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/that-text-message-could-be-your-last.htm
I hope you find it useful.
Regards Gary


Response posted on 1st August 2017 by:
Mark Gregory

E: mark.gregory@atkinsglobal.com
T:

Fatal Crash Texts

Whilst I agree that discouraging drivers from using mobile phones is a good idea, I remember this accident:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1166267.stm

I am not sure whether this type of text would help your campaign. I remembered the end part of the message (expletive) rather than anything else about the message.


Response posted on 2nd August 2017 by:
Richard Owen

E: richard.owen@saferroads.org
T: +441295731815

Fatal Crash Texts Supporting Data

There were 11 fatal crashes involving drivers 'distracted by mobile phone' in the NE over the last 10 years with the last one being in 2014. Of course, they may not have been texting at the time. Given the low sample size (22 in the whole of the UK in 2015 for phones) it may be tricky to find a specific example.
You may want to work with one of the victims groups such as Brake! or RoadPeace who are likely to have knowledge though their work.


Response posted on 17th August 2017 by:
Joao Canoquena

E: costa.canoquena@hdr.qut.edu.au
T:

Fatal Crash Texts

Hi James,
Your effort is commendable. Good on you. We ought to be raising awareness to all sorts of risk factors, not least of which distractions.
I suggest that the development of the program be less well defined in its initial iteration. Adjust and modify before the second iteration. If there is no such cycle (i.e. periodical delivery of the program), use trials before rolling it out to a larger group. Awareness raising campaigns should always be informed by psychology and the workings of the mind. People remember things they can relate to and are likely to re-occur (reinforced). Most importantly, (most sensible) people want to learn to be better road users. Over-emphasising negatives has proven ineffective in behavour changing, especially with young adults (a rather peculiar age group). Use research on young adult information retention, attitudes to road use, recall and behaviour changing. Therefore, there might be little or no point in having the actual messages used by those who have paid with their own lives for their innocuous distraction. Besides, some of these messages, one might reasonably think, might be mostly personal.
My advice is to think of the enabling message and trial the campaign with a wide range (social backgrounds, schooling, ages and locations) yet small group of people. Collect feedback and modify the experimental/trial campaign accordingly before implementing the big campaign. In this respect, always produce awareness campaigns with a clear evaluation framework in mind. In a nutshell, how would you like to evaluate this campaign? Will it be through recall? Will it be through message support? Or will it be both? Answer these questions before you design the campaign. Start from the end.
Best of luck.


Response posted on 31st August 2017 by:
David Daw

E: david.daw@suffolk.gov.uk
T:

Fatal Crash Texts

I would echo the comments of some others here. Using these texts as part of an intervention to shock young road users into not using their phones seems at first view very attractive. However, they have a subconscious mindset that it isn't going to happen to them anyway, so will probably ignore the message.

It is far better to normalise the behaviour of those who choose not to use their phones when driving. Young people are herd animals and do not want to be left out in the open, so telling them that 80% of drivers will not text and drive serves to reinforce the behaviour we want them to adopt.

There is evidence that the kind of emotive campaign you seem to favour actually encourages some drivers to worsen their behaviour. They have status within their peer group by adopting risky behaviour and when you go in and emphasise just how risky it is to everyone, it serves to heighten their status if they continue to text and drive with even more reckless abandonment.

Sadly, there is a feeling among those who are keen to use the traditional blood & guts type of road safety intervention, that if it is shown that those tactics are not effective it is solely because in the past they have not used enough blood & guts, so they decide to go in even harder.


Response posted on 31st August 2017 by:
Fran Bernstein

E: febnet02@btinternet.com
T:

Fatal Crash Texts

As these were likely messages sent to family or close friends then please think carefully about how you use the information, as reproducing these messages could be upsetting and sensitive to those directly impacted.

Maybe you can find evidence to the 'themes' of what drivers find so important to text, and what attracts a driver to be distracted from driving? Or what situations drivers often text, ie just pulling off from stationary, in queuing traffic, or on a motorway etc. Normalising should consider all texting in all situations is not allowed. And not imply that some situations maybe more or less tolerated.

In London it is widespread. Anecdotally from the drivers I've spoken to, many don't feel that waiting in traffic is 'driving' and don't perceive their danger, and many still do not appreciate they are at risk from pts on their license in these situations too.

A lot needs to be done, and I welcome all those helping to tackle this problem.

Francis


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