Re: Road Safety's Conflict of Interest
Now, firstly, I want to say that the state of play on the roads sickens me, so many people getting killed, killing themselves and others, and even more getting seriously harmed, but I would also like to point out there has been some questions asked about the TAC's methodology when trying to measure the effectiveness of its so-called 'road safety' ads. I am bringing this up not because I want to go faster or I think driver ed should be overhauled, I wouldn't agree with most people here about these issues, but because the TAC's method of spreading the road safety message is seriously flawed. They work from a top-down, linear 'direct effects' model of communication. People are taught this at uni so they can move beyond it and study more current and incredibly complex approaches to communication. How do I know? Because I am a uni tutor in a communications unit and my PhD is on modified-car culture. I tackle the road safety literature not as some sycophantic sheep that will believe anything they read just as long as it says that 'driving fast is bad'. Driving fast IS bad, but it is certainly not the only issue to do with safe driving, plus the messages the TAC advertises are framed in such an authoritarian way most people they are trying to address (those most 'at-risk') simply interogate the message and dismiss it. (Think of the ad with the two falcons, how it has been totally gutted by enthusiasts on many different online forums.) When they did have a relatively independent group assess whether the ads they made were effective (from a SA uni), measuring according to a cost-benefit analysis they were found to be seriously flawed. The debate that followed was published in one of the market research journals.