«U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Disclaimer: This publication is distributed by the U.S. Department ...»
Creating a Campaign
for Parents of Pre-Drivers to
SEAT BELT USE BY
13- TO 15-YEAR-OLDS
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety
This publication is distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the interest of infor-
mation exchange. The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Transportation or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. If trade or manufacturers’ names or products are mentioned, it is because they are considered essential to the object of the publication and should not be construed as an endorsement. The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers.
Suggested APA Format Citation:
University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center. (2014, March).
Creating a campaign for parents of pre-drivers to encourage seat belt use by 13- to 15-year-olds.
(Report No. DOT HS 811 894). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Technical Report Documentation Page
1. Report No. 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient’s Catalog No.
DOT HS 811 894
4. Title and Subtitle 5. Report Date Creating a Campaign for Parents of Pre-Drivers to Encourage Seat Belt March 2014 Use by 13- to 15-Year-Olds 6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s) 8. Performing Organization Report No.
Jennifer Walker, Susan Connor Ph.D., Kathryn Wesolowski
9. Performing Organization Name and Address 10. Work Unit no. (TRAIS) University Hospitals of Cleveland 11100 Euclid Avenue
11. Contract or Grant No.
Cleveland, OH 44106-6039 DTNH22-09-H-00270
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address 13. Type of Report and Period Covered U.S. Department of Tran
15. Supplementary Notes Belinda Oh was the NHTSA Project Officer
16. Abstract This report summarizes the activities and results of a community-wide demonstration project supported by a cooperative agreement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The demonstration project was designed to engage parents of pre-drivers in encouraging seat belt use among 13- to 15-year-olds. The program intervention site included the cities of Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills, Ohio. All three cities are part of the Parma City School District, the second largest district in Cuyahoga County, serving 13,000 students–more than 5,200 in the target age cohort. The demonstration project was evaluated by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) under a companion contract, to test the effectiveness of the campaign in engaging parents and increasing belt use by young teens.
Both the intervention site and control site began with belt usage for teens significantly below the national average, as determined by NOPUS. Following the intervention period, observed seat belt use among young teens in the demonstration community increased from a baseline of 58.0 percent in April 2010 to 83.8 percent in August 2011. Driver belt use also increased from 69.0 percent to
89.3 percent in the same time period.
The significant increase in belt use, coupled with the level of engagement of the demonstration community, supports the conclusion that targeting outreach to parents as influencers can be an effective approach to getting more young teens buckled up.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The Just Get It Across campaign was developed by University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center as part of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstration grant to develop and implement a campaign to engage parents of pre-drivers in encouraging seat belt use among 13- to 15-year-olds. A companion contract was simultaneously issued to an independent evaluator, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), to test the effectiveness of the campaign in engaging parents and increasing seat belt use by young teens.
Observational surveys have shown that seat belt use among teens is significantly lower than overall restraint use among children up to age 7 (National Occupant Protection Usage Survey [NOPUS] and National Survey on the Use of Booster Seats [NSUBS]). From 2008 to 2010, only 31 percent of 13- to 15year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicles crashes were restrained with lap and shoulder belts (Fatal Analysis Reporting System [FARS]). While there is substantial information given to parents on how to keep their infants and toddlers safe in passenger vehicles, such safety information for parents with children beyond the booster seat stage is sparse. The majority of efforts to increase seat belt use for young teens have tended to target the children themselves, not their parents and guardians.
Despite the common misperception that parental influence diminishes as children enter the teen years, research indicates that parents do remain the primary role models for children, particularly for younger adolescents. The goal of this campaign was to harness the powerful influence of parents in order to establish proper occupant protection habits in the early teen years, before young people become drivers.
Campaign messaging focused on empowering parents to set and enforce non-negotiable rules for seat belt use for all passengers in their vehicles. The ultimate objective of this project was to create a model program that could be adapted and replicated by other communities interested in increasing and maintaining young teen seat belt use through parental influence.
The strategy, approach, and theme for the campaign were developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary working group that included experts in health behavior theory, psychology, child development, anthropological theory, social marketing and public health. Findings from this working group laid the foundation for the campaign, focusing on the need to create an outreach plan that addressed the differences among parents and did not attempt a one-size-fits-all approach. The work of the creative agency hired to develop the theme and execute creative elements of the campaign was informed by input from the working group and findings from a parent telephone survey. The resulting theme, Just Get It Across, spoke directly to the fact that each parent has his or her own style for child-rearing and communication, and embraced these differences.
Upon the creation of the logo and completion of several creative executions that were tested with members of the target audience, the program launched in the fall of 2010 with the back-to-school season and continued through August 2011. The campaign combined outreach in venues with a carefully targeted audience of parents of young teens with more broad-based tactics that reached the community as a whole but spoke specifically to parents. Schools provided a prime opportunity to reach a captive audience of parents and guardians of 13- to 15-year-olds in the demonstration community through activities such as open houses and orientations, sporting events and direct communication vehicles.
Broad-based communication mediums were used to reinforce messages for parents of children in the cohort who had already been exposed to the campaign through schools or other activities and to reach parents of children in the target age range who had not been engaged with the campaign through more direct venues. While parents were being reached directly with messages that narrowly identified the age group of interest and focused on middle and high school parents, the intervention also included strategically placing the Just Get It Across message throughout the community, so parents would be exposed to the logo and message in the course of their daily activities, whether driving to work or stopping for coffee or groceries. These broad-based tactics also provided an opportunity to reach lessengaged parents, who were not actively involved in their children’s schools or extracurricular activities.
Grassroots efforts in the community were joined with mass media and broad-based messaging outreach to immerse parents with year-long reminders of the importance of insisting on seat belts for all 1 passengers. Additional elements of the campaign, including a membership club and an incentive program for school groups such as PTAs, provided parents and community leaders with opportunities to further engage with the campaign, while also giving the project coordinators a means to track reach. A separate and distinct law enforcement message was also developed for the campaign; per NHTSA instructions, one week during each month of the intervention period was dedicated to heightened enforcement and supported with enforcement-themed advertising.
Both the intervention site and control site began with seat belt usage for teens significantly below the national average, as determined by NOPUS. Following the intervention period, observed seat belt use among the teens in the target age group increased significantly (+25.8%), as well as the observed seat belt use of drivers (+20.3%). The most successful elements of the campaign were those that provided the opportunity for project staff to talk to parents and engage them in the seat belt conversation, while giving them an immediate call to action to join the Just Get It Across initiative. Although determining the effectiveness of media outreach posed a challenge throughout the campaign due to a shared media market with the control community, the demonstration project enabled the testing of a number of unique communications vehicles combined with more traditional elements.
Baseline data from both the demonstration community and the control site indicated a need for outreach that addresses seat belt use among young teens. While efforts to increase belt use typically speak directly to the end user for audiences beyond booster seat age, the alternate strategy of targeting outreach to parents as influencers was an effective approach to getting more young teens buckled up.
The significant increase in belt use, coupled with the level of engagement of the demonstration community, is evidence that Just Get It Across resonated with parents and spurred them to action. Using the tools developed over the course of this project, other agencies and organizations should be able to successfully implement the program and positively affect seat belt use among young teens in their communities.
The following report details how the demonstration project was developed and implemented. It does not cover quantitative or qualitative research activities or data collection. These items will be addressed in a separate evaluation report being completed by UMTRI.
Project Purpose In 2009, the Rainbow Injury Prevention Center was awarded a grant from NHTSA to develop and implement a campaign to engage parents of pre-drivers in encouraging seat belt use among their 13- to 15-year-old children. The resulting Just Get It Across campaign was designed in an effort to increase and maintain seat belt use among 13- to 15-year-olds by harnessing the powerful influence of their parents.
Recognizing that the pre-driver cohort is where restraint use typically drops off as children gain more independence, we focused on developing a campaign with messaging that would empower parents to make and enforce seat belt use in their vehicles, using their own distinct voices and personalities.
As parent-child interactions change in the early teen years, parents often mistakenly believe they no longer have any influence or control over their children’s behavior. The ultimate goal of the campaign was to empower parents to set and enforce seat belt use as a non-negotiable rule in their vehicles. By normalizing seat belt use and encouraging teens to develop good habits, it was our intention to firmly establish seat belt use with the pre-driver cohort before they become drivers. Although messaging was directed to the parents, the strategy and tactics of the campaign encouraged an esprit de corps among families, in part by making seat belt use for all passengers a common goal to strive for with the promise of tangible rewards.
Specific objectives for the campaign were:
• To obtain a statistically significant increase in seat belt use among 13- to 15-year-olds in the demonstration community over the course of the demonstration period, and
• To engage parents in the campaign by enrolling at least 10 percent of the eligible population in the Just Get It Across club.
Background The demonstration area for the campaign included the cities of Parma, Parma Heights, and Seven Hills.
These three suburbs of greater Cleveland cover 29.2 square miles, and have a combined population of 114,123, meeting NHTSA’s requirement of an intervention site with a population between 50,000 and 250,000. All three cities are part of the Parma City School District, the second largest district in Cuyahoga County, serving 13,000 students–more than 5,200 in the target age cohort. The control site for the project was Lorain, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb located 30 miles northwest of the intervention site. The Lorain City School District serves 7,488 students, with approximately 2,500 in the target grades of 7 to 10.
The city of Parma is the largest suburb of Cleveland and the seventh largest city in Ohio. The racial makeup of all three communities is predominantly White—ranging from 95 to 97 percent White residents.
While the intervention site is, on paper, racially homogenous, there is certainly diversity among sociocultural backgrounds, values, and beliefs. The site has wide socioeconomic variations, strong working class/white collar divisions, and vibrant Eastern European and Asian Indian communities. Median household income and home values span a broad range as indicated in the table below.