Wednesday 20 February 2019

Texting dangers must be spelled out to motorists, experts urge advertisers

Most people fail to realise that texting while driving is as dangerous as being under the influence of alcohol.

Road safety ads on TV, in newspapers or online must clearly communicate the potential dangers -- even if it means using shock tactics -- DIT masters in advertising graduates have told an industry audience attending their end-of-year presentation.

Student agencies Beeline and RoarShack provided a range of new research, media and creative ideas.

Both campaigns targeted Irish motorists' casual attitude to the potential fatal consequences of texting while driving.

Beeline's Naoisa O'Brien said motorists who text are 23 times more likely to be in an accident than someone who drives responsibly.


To change behaviour, road safety ads must first change people's attitudes. As driving is habit-forming, motorists wrongly think it's 'dead easy' to multi-task.

They are over-confident in their driving skills and tend to rationalise bad behaviour.

Ads should not be preachy or patronising but should clearly say "ignore your phone, not the road".

RoarShack's Alex Cullen said research showed young motorists believed an accident would never happen to them. They feel indestructible behind a wheel.

To win attention, ads should suggest: you don't like it when I put you at risk, so what makes it okay for you to put me at risk?

RoarShack coined the slogan 'consider the cost of your next text'.

The students spent six weeks devising their campaigns.

The two agencies used digital media extensively, including clever apps warning of the real dangers of texting.

Among those attending the presentations were the Road Safety Authority's Brian Farrell, Irish International boss Ian Young and course director Rosie Hand.

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