Title: No Excuse Focus Group Report

Organisation: Dorset County Council
Date uploaded: 20th February 2012
Date published/launched: November 2011

Dorset County Council commissioned the Market Research Group at Bournemouth University to undertake focus group research on the effectiveness of the "No excuse" marketing strategy.

The focus groups explored and answered the following questions:
• Do members of the public believe there is more traffic enforcement on Dorset’s roads since the ‘No Excuse’ campaign started?

• Do they believe the likelihood of being caught is greater since the ‘No Excuse’ campaign started?

• Have drivers altered their driving behaviour as a result of a greater risk of being caught?

• To see what participants thought of the publicity material surrounding the campaign,where they had seen it previously and whether they thought it was effective.

Findings from these two discussion groups would suggest that the partnership should concentrate its efforts on the following areas:

• Undertake more promotional work to make sure people know what offences they are going to be stopped for and what offences the ‘No Excuse’ campaign is targeting. This could be done through the use of road signs and/or the local media.

• More visible policing of certain types of offence such as tailgating and mobile phone use. More needs to be done so that people associate the ‘No Excuse’ campaign with these types of offences. Also, more promotion of prosecution statistics through the local media and road signs - people need to see and feel that drivers are being prosecuted for these types of offences.

• Continue to provide covert and overt enforcement measures. Some people thought
that the only way of people realising that enforcement is increased in Dorset is by actually seeing the police undertaking enforcement activity. Others thought undercover policing was effective and increased use of this would make drivers feel that they could be caught at any time.

• Create new ways to promote the campaign in the local papers. Participants suggested that newspaper stories associated with the campaign needed to be more hard hitting and that the current excuses used for promotion made road safety seem like a bit of a joke.

• Continue to use road signs as a main tool for communicating and promoting the ‘No Excuse’ message. Use road signs to promote the number of prosecutions. The new design of road signs were generally seen as a positive step so the campaign should roll these out throughout Dorset.

• Consider discontinuing the radio adverts; very few people had heard them and their effectiveness was questioned. Further research could be undertaken into audience numbers and listener demographics of local commercial radio. It was thought that audio and visual media promotion would be more effective carried out at a national level for example with association with the BBC.

• Ensure prosecutions happen and are promoted. Media reports focusing on people who have ‘got away’ with their offence on technicalities such as calibration of equipment or a wrong road name have had a negative affect on the campaign.

• Undertake further research with certain types of drivers, including those aged between 16 – 24, those who have been caught as part of the ‘No Excuse’ campaign, drivers who drive as part of their job (e.g. taxi drivers, lorry drivers) and drivers who live in Poole and Bournemouth, to see if they have noticed more enforcement activity since 2010 and what type of promotion would consider the most effective.

For more information contact:
Robert Smith
T: 01305 224680

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