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Britains best road safety campaign

Drivers say seat belt campaign the most effective

Drink driving and mobile phone use complete the top three road safety campaigns

17 August 2017

More than a third (35%*) of drivers think the campaign to get people wearing seat belts has been the most effective at improving road safety.

A further third (32%) said that drink driving campaigns had made the best contribution, while 15% say campaigns regarding mobile phone use have been the most effective road safety message.

The survey also found:

  • Two fifths (39%) of older drivers think that seat belt campaigns were the most effective
  • A third (32%) of drivers aged 18 to 24 felt that mobile phone campaigns had the most impact
  • 2% of all drivers felt that no road safety campaign has made a difference
Drivers are still being caught

Despite the positive public perception, drivers are still being caught not wearing seat belts today. According to the latest available figures from the Home Office nearly 20,000 drivers were issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for not buckling up in 2015. Almost 17,000 were fined for using their phone while driving.

'Clunk Click Every Trip'

The original seat belt campaign with the memorable catch phrase 'Clunk Click Every Trip’ started in the early 1970s. The clunk click slogan was used until 1993 although the campaign has since been removed from the national archive.

The anti-drink drive campaigns have been running for more than fifty years and often used shock and horror to get the message across. Slogans varied but a popular one was Think Before You Drink Before You Drive.

Mobile phone campaign

The AA Trust created the latest ad against using a mobile phone while driving with ad agency adam&eveDDB .

'Designated Driver' was promoted in cinemas and on video on demand by the Department for Transport’s Think! campaign.

With the slogan You’re twice as likely to crash text driving as drink driving. You wouldn’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive,  the ad plays on the success of the previous drink drive campaigns.

Making it memorable is half the battle

Edmund King, AA president says “Half the battle with any road safety campaign is making it memorable, and the clunk click every trip strap line certainly did that. But effective safety campaigns also need good legislation, like mandatory seat belts, and police enforcement. Campaigns don’t change attitudes overnight so need to be repeated and refreshed.

“Younger drivers may struggle to think that once upon a time, their parents and grandparents frequently drove and rode in cars that had no seat belts or even if they had seat belts they didn’t wear them.

Half the battle with any road safety campaign is making it memorable ... but effective safety campaigns also need good legislation, like mandatory seat belts, and police enforcement.

Edmund King, AA president

“However, complacency is not an option, and it seems a small number of drivers still haven’t got the message about the advantages of wearing a belt.

“As new vehicle technology emerges, and the long term vision of driverless cars comes ever closer, it will be interesting to see what becomes the next road safety campaign for drivers.”


* Populus received 16,239 responses from AA members to its online poll between the 13th June and 20th June 2017. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

The question was:

Over the last few decades, there have been many high profile road safety campaigns. Which of the following campaigns do you think has made the most significant contribution towards improving road safety?

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