How many lives can bloody and shocking road safety advertising save? the case of Spain.
2012 - J. I. Castillo, D. J. Pedregal Tercero, R. Pozo
Transportation research part f-traffic psychology and behavior. 15, 174 - 187 (2012)
At the beginning of the 21st century, the punishment strategies used by the Spanish administration were considerably hardened to achieve a reduction in road accidents. This hardening could also be seen in the mass-media public advertising campaigns, with a marked shift from gentle messages to threat-based advertisements. The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of this radical change in terms of main road accident indicators and the time that the effects last using multivariate unobserved component models set up in a state space framework applied to monthly series for the 1980–2008 period. The main conclusion is that the effect on reducing road accidents is no greater when citizens are subjected to a greater level of threats in advertising campaigns than would on average be achieved using campaigns with a low level of threats. Secondly, the impact of bloody advertising in Spain is limited to the most serious accidents, those that cause deaths, either on highways or in built-up areas. Moreover, the positive effects progressively decrease as the average lifespan for significant effects of medium and high level campaigns on deaths on highways or in built-up areas was 8 months and almost 12 days. The results show that a reduction in numbers of deaths and injuries is always achieved when the level of harshness in the messages is increased after a period of several years of mild advertising.