ATTITUDES TO ROAD SAFETY AND THINK! ROAD SAFETY
CAMPAIGNS
Prepared For: The Department for Transport
Prepared By: Mark Ratcliff and Siobhan Bouchier-Hayes – MURMUR
(+44) 020 7733 1706
[email protected]
www.murmurresearch.com
Version (v1.0)
CONTENTS
6
BACKGROUND
7
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
8
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE
11
MAIN FINDINGS
12
TOP 15 POINTS TO THINK ABOUT
14
SECTION A: ROAD SAFETY
15
1.
URBAN VERSUS RURAL AND ETHNIC & DISADVANTAGED OVERVIEW
17
2.
ROAD SAFETY AS A CONCERN FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN
22
3.
ROAD SAFETY: PEDESTRIANS
23
3.1 OVERVIEW
26
3.2 WHAT THEY KNOW [OR WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW]
28
3.3 WHERE THEY LEARN
31
3.4 WHAT PARENTS TEACH ABOUT SAFETY
34
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK
41
4.
42
4.1 OVERVIEW
47
4.2 WHAT THEY KNOW [OR WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW]
49
4.3 CYCLIST RISK
ROAD SAFETY AND CYCLING
2
CONTENTS cont.
52
5.
IN CAR ISSUES
53
5.1
OVERVIEW OF HOW RURAL VS. URBAN, ETHNIC VS. DISADVANTAGED VS.
MIDDLE CLASS IMPACTS ON IN CAR ISSUES
54
5.2
OPINION FORMER OVERVIEW OF THE VERY BIGGEST ISSUES
55
5.3
SAFETY IN THE PARENTAL CAR
58
5.4
IN CAR RISK
59
5.4.1 WHAT SCARES CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN CAR
63
5.4.2 MORE ON PARENTAL EXAMPLE
66
5.4.3 RISKY DRIVING BY MATES
69
6.
73
SECTION B: CURRENT CAMPAIGNS
74
1.
CURRENT COMMUNICATIONS: WHAT’S CUTTING THROUGH
77
2.
‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV
78
2.1
‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: TEMPERATURE OF RESPONSE
79
2.2
‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: POSITIVES
80
2.3
‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: ISSUES
83
2.4
‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: TARGET
85
2.5
‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: COMPREHENSION AND COMMUNICATIONS
LEARNING TO DRIVE
3
CONTENTS cont.
87
3.
‘HEDGEHOGS’ POSTERS
89
4.
‘HEDGEHOGS’ SUPPORTING MATERIALS
90
5
‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE
97
6.
HEDGEHOGS & CYCLING
98
7.
‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV
99
7.1 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: TEMPERATURE OF RESPONSE
100
7.2 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: POSITIVES
102
7.3 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: ISSUES
103
7.4 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: TARGET
104
7.5 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: COMPREHENSION AND COMMUNICATION
105
7.6 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: IMPACT
106
8.
‘CAMERA PHONE’: POSTERS
108
9.
‘SKULLS’
109
10.
PREFERENCES RE WHERE FIND SAFETY MESSAGES
110
SECTION C: TOWARDS OPTIMISATION
112
1.
ALL AGE GROUPS
113
1.1
ALL AGE GROUPS: CONTENT
115
1.2
ALL AGE GROUPS: STYLE
4
CONTENTS cont.
118
1.3
ALL AGE GROUPS: OTHER ISSUES
120
2.
YOUNGER
121
2.1
YOUNGER: CONTENT
124
2.2
YOUNGER: STYLE
125
2.3
YOUNGER: OTHER ISSUES
126
3.
OLDER
127
3.1
OLDER: CONTENT
131
3.2
OLDER: STYLE
133
4.
PARENTS
135
5.
A NOTE ON PRINT
137
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMUNICATIONS CAN DO
5
BACKGROUND
By the year 2010 the government wants to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by 40%, or 50% for
children. The THINK! Campaign is one of the measures that is being utilised to help meet these targets
The THINK! campaign is an umbrella brand that links all road safety messages and has been up and running
since June 2000
The ultimate aim of the THINK! campaign is to push people towards recognising that it is often the small things
they do that causes accidents on the roads and that there are simple steps that can be taken that will reduce
risk
Research indicates that the THINK! brand now has wide recognition and the challenge is to build on the
campaign to get across specific messages which will engender behavioural change amongst 4 – 16 year olds
A number of campaigns have run that specifically target teenagers and children and research is ultimately
required to review existing activity aimed at these target groups as well as how communications with them
might best be optimised
6
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
Research objectives primarily revolve around
Reviewing existing road safety communications aimed at children (7 – 10 year olds)
Reviewing existing road safety communications aimed at teenagers (11 – 16 year olds) and identifying
other possible routes for communication
Exploring the need for a separate marketing approach for 10 – 11 year olds during the transition from
primary to secondary school
To investigate how communications with teens and children can be improved
To ensure the key messages in current and future campaigns appeal and resonate across both audiences
To explore the possibility of linking cycling and pedestrian safety into a single campaign that would be
flexible enough to work with both children and teens and within that males and females
More specifically to investigate
Teenagers’ and children’s attitudes towards road safety and risk taking (including why take risks and what
the attractions of dangerous games like chicken are)
The role parents play in road safety education
The impact gender, age, attitudes and lifestyle have on road safety behaviour
The role peers play in road safety behaviour
How road safety can compete with the fact that other issues such as sex, exams, drugs and alcohol are
taking a greater share of mind
What tone is most appropriate to use when talking about road safety
7
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE
Respondent Methodology
Groups, paired depths and one-on-one interviews were conducted as per below
3 x opinion former interviews
* Senior police person: Annie Mitchener
* RSO at Milton Keynes: Kevin Clinton
* David Frost at Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents
* Plus a number of road safety experts were spoken with over the course of briefing conversations. In a
couple of cases these mutated into extended interviews
30 x groups and 4 x paired depth immersion studies
8
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE cont.
REFERENCE
AGE
GENDER
CRITERIA
LOCATION
Group 1
4–6
Males
Reception Year
Stockport
Group 2
4–6
Females
Year 1
Suffolk
Group 3
4 – 6, Parents of
N/A
Reception/Year 1– Ethnic
Camberwell
Group 4
4 – 6, Parents of
N/A
Reception/Year 1
Somerset
Group 5
7–9
Males
Year 3
Birmingham
Group 6
7 –9
Females
Year 3
Somerset
Group 7
7—9
Males
Year 2, Ethnic
Camden
Group 8
7 –9
Males
Year 4, Disadvantaged
Ethnic
Lee
Group 9
7 –9, Parents of
N/A
Year 3 – 4,
Disadvantaged
Stockport
Group 10
7 – 9, Parents of
N/A
Year 3 or 4
Suffolk
Group 11
10 – 11
Males
Year 6
Stockport
Group 12
10 – 11
Males
Year 7
Somerset
Group 13
10 –11
Females
Year 6
Suffolk
Group 14
10 – 11
Females
Year 7
Bexleyheath
Group 15
10 – 11
Males
Year 6, Ethnic
Lee
Group 16
10 – 11
Females
Year 7, Ethnic
Birmingham
Group 17
10 – 11
Male
Year 7, Disadvantaged
Camberwell
9
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE cont.
REFERENCE
AGE
GENDER
CRITERIA
LOCATION
Group 18
10 –11
Male
Year 6, Disadvantaged
Camden
Group 19
10 – 11, Parents of
N/A
Year 6 or 7
Suffolk
Group 20
10 – 11, Parents of
N/A
Year 6 or 7,
Disadvantaged
Bexleyheath
Group 21
12 – 14
Male
Year 8
Suffolk
Group 22
12 – 14
Female
Year 8
Somerset
Group 23
12 – 14
Male
Year 9, Ethnic
Bexleyheath
Group 24
12 – 14
Male
Year 9, Disadvantaged
Birmingham
Group 25
12 – 14, Parents of
N/A
Year 8 or 9, Ethnic
Lee
Group 26
15 – 16
Male
Year 11
Stockport
Group 27
15 – 16
Female
Year 10
Suffolk
Group 28
15 – 16
Male
Year 11, Ethnic
Camberwell
Group 29
15 – 16
Male
Year 10, Disadvantaged
Camden
Group 30
15 – 16, Parents of
N/A
Year 10 or 11, Ethnic
Birmingham
Paired Depth 1
12 – 14
Male
Year 9
Camden
Paired Depth 2
12 – 14
Female
Year 8
Camberwell
Paired Depth 3
15 – 16
Male
Year 10
Camberwell
Paired Depth 4
15 – 16
Female
Year 11
Camden
10
MAIN FINDINGS
11
TOP 15 POINTS TO THINK ABOUT
1. In urban environments, for disadvantaged and significant numbers of ethnic respondents, the scale of
violence and crime currently puts issues relating to road safety into the shade
2. Significant numbers of ethnic and disadvantaged respondents are on their own on the streets from the age
of 7 and up
3. Rural respondents are much more conscious of road safety, both as pedestrians and as cyclists, than their
suburban and urban counterparts… sense of it being a real threat
4. The scale of risky/bad behaviour in cars among teenagers when they are with their peers is not to be
underestimated eg put bag over head of driver on motorway
5. Children and teenagers pick up bad cues from their parents across pedestrian and in car… in fact parents
who drive fast or perform dubious manoeuvres can be treated as role models, versus a significant number of
girls are too scared to challenge their parents if they drive dangerously
6. Disadvantaged role models re learning to drive are often risk takers e.g. roll a joint whilst steering with feet,
etc
7. Significant number of 15 – 16 year olds think smoking marijuana when driving is not an issue: heightens
awareness of and sensitivity to road conditions
8. Hedgehogs is immensely popular as animation but there are big comprehension and communication issues
which result in its role in road safety education being open to question
9. There appears to be merit in encouraging parents of under 8 year olds to become more actively involved in
road training; significant numbers of parents think that the bulk of the work in this area should be undertaken
by schools; opinion formers beg to differ; in fact road safety education appears sporadic across schools
10. Research indicates that 10 and 11 year olds need to be targeted with a variation on the current teen
strategy; they are clearly too old for ‘Hedgehogs’, as indeed are the majority of 8 and 9 year olds… key age
break may not be 10 – 11, more 8/9 – 11
12
TOP 15 POINTS TO THINK ABOUT
11. ‘Camera Phone’ is a very successful piece of road safety advertising when viewed in the context of other
relevant communications… it feels real, elicits enormous empathy with its depiction of teenage life and delivers
a genuine and visceral shock which stays with respondents, especially under 15s
12. Teens (especially, though not exclusively, 15+) tend to live moment to moment, they are not future
focussed… that which impacts on them today may well be forgotten tomorrow unless something about personal
consequences is driven home… this is only effective if there is a strong point of empathy that leads up to
depiction of consequences
13. ‘Don’t Die Before You’ve Lived’ is too future focussed for teenagers to truly engage; it’s far more resonant
among parents, addressing a primal fear about losing a child prematurely
14. Graphic illustration of catastrophe should not be shied away from when depicting the impact and
consequences of road accidents… significant numbers from 8 – 11 and the vast majority of those over 11 can
cope with it
15. There is a huge job involved in presenting cycle helmets as acceptable, you can’t just run a safety
message, need to address major image issues
13
SECTION A: ROAD SAFETY
14
1. URBAN VERSUS RURAL
AND ETHNIC & DISADVANTAGED OVERVIEW
There are significant differences between urban and rural respondents, and their priorities
Rural respondents
Parents much more concerned about road safety as an issue, many urban parents have more pressing
things to think about
* No pavements to walk on, no safe crossings, children are less street-wise
* Rural kids ferried by car, in urban areas children on the street much earlier
* In the most rural areas hard to send your children to the shops as part of a controlled independence
exercise, whereas in a city or suburbs it’s not such a problem
* A sense in some rural areas that inhabitants are more middle class… increasingly need money to live in
the countryside
* Rural kids seem to get much more hands-on training eg cycle proficiency much more prevalent; a
function of being more middle class?
Road safety and rural versus urban
For rural, road safety revolves around issues like narrow roads, heavy agricultural traffic, concealed
entrances, blind bends, no street lights and drink driving
For urban, revolves around street crime, weight of traffic, pack behaviour among children overtaking
individual common sense
Disadvantaged
In many respects not so different to bulk of sample in terms of concerns
Significant differences revolve around
* On the streets, on their own, eg going to school, at much younger age, often 7/8
15
1. URBAN VERSUS RURAL
AND ETHNIC & DISADVANTAGED OVERVIEW cont.
* Male parental role models sometimes offering bad example eg driving car with feet, driving under the
influence of drugs, more resolutely macho in attitudes to driving, etc
* Much closer to perpetrators and victims of street crime/violence eg in London gang members part of
their milieu
* More likely to aspire to what others might perceive as dangerous driving
* More likely to have role models for whom machismo, respect, peer acceptance are a very, very big deal
* More likely to be territorial about where they live
“If you’re going to see mates in another area you’ve got to keep on your toes for the boys in that
area.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“If you walk into a different area, boys come after you, they’ve normally got tools because it’s their
area, so you’ve just got to keep on your toes.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
* More likely to listen to underground music; more likely to generate content in music
Ethnic
Significant cross over between ethnic and disadvantaged – typically Afro-Caribbean
Muslim female respondents markedly different to disadvantaged
* Conservative, more closeted, less freedom
* A lot of concerns relate to sex eg fear of rape on the street, underage pregnancy
Asian males oscillate between more urban and more conservative, depending on their class and,
sometimes, whether they are of Pakistani or Indian origin… sometimes can oscillate between the two
positions depending on issues eg liberal about drugs, conservative about sexual issues
16
2. ROAD SAFETY AS A CONCERN FOR
PARENTS AND CHILDREN
More of a concern for rural respondents and the parents of younger children than for older children and
their parents
Disadvantaged parents and their children sometimes flag it as a concern, but in terms of theft, violence
and shootings on the street rather than crossing between parked cars or against the red man on a pedestrian
crossing
“You have to make sure you put all your sick things in your pocket so you don’t get jacked.” [10 – 11
boy]
“People can steal stuff from you, you can get kidnapped, you can get into fights, you can get arrested,
you can get hurt, you can get shot or you can get stabbed or you can get poisoned with sweets or you
can get run over.” [10 – 11 boy]
Rural concerns hugely salient
Step out of the house and road safety is a live issue, a real threat. For example children in rural areas
much more likely to wear fluorescent clothing, in urban areas only wear fluorescent clothing by mistake, as
part of fashion design… likely to be picked on and ridiculed, otherwise
“It’s a real concern for me, we live down a dirt track but at the back is a really busy road on a bend and
you can’t see a thing. I have to run across the road on my own and leave the kids on the other side so
I can see clearly and usher them across.” [4 – 6 parent]
* As noted
− Blind bends
− No pavements
− No street lights
− Drink driving; more reckless driving because lack of police presence
17
2. ROAD SAFETY AS A CONCERN FOR
PARENTS AND CHILDREN cont.
− Large lorries and agricultural traffic
− Traffic more sporadic so children less used to it
− Cycling more hazardous eg on a narrow road, fears re get sucked under lorry in its wake
Suburban
Generally not so far from urban with one proviso, that is outer suburbs sometimes exhibit distinct concerns
about traffic density and speed eg in Cheshire lots of big A roads heading to Manchester which traffic
barrels down at 40 or 45 miles per hour rather than within the speed limit, and with few obvious pedestrian
crossings
Urban
Confronted with busy roads and traffic more often than other children/parents, a sense they are more
inured to it
And as noted a sense that there are other, more pressing concerns eg crime, drugs
More supposed safe crossings in urban environments, so children more regimented about where they
cross… expect to find zebra crossings, pedestrian crossings on major roads… with attendant issue that may
make children lazier or think less about road safety
More specifically, concerns of children and teenagers
Across all age groups peer pressure and bullying emerge as key concern
“It is difficult to say no to things, and if you’re being picked on and tell your mum and dad they might
shout at them, but that makes it worse because they’re in my class.” [7 – 9 boy]
“My friend hasn’t got much money and he goes to steal things from a shop and he wants me to steal too.
When I told him I didn’t want to, he hit me on the head.” [7 – 9 boy]
18
2. ROAD SAFETY AS A CONCERN FOR
PARENTS AND CHILDREN cont.
7 – 9 concerns dominated by more amorphous or conceptual fears re the dark, ghosts, death; at
secondary level worry about friends, sick relatives, grandparents; can also get upset about disruptions to
their routine eg miss football or dancing lesson
* Parents of 7 – 9s worry about letting their children off the leash, running free; perception is that
abductions, child sex, violence on the ascendancy; all agree that they had much more freedom when
they were 7 – 9
10 – 11 year old concerns start to be a little more concrete; moving up to bigger school, exams, fitting
in with friends, bullying; cyber bullying a big trend; in addition some evidence that more global issues
resonate, they worry about terrorism [being blown up in a bus on London], they’re becoming aware of
poverty via horrific media imagery, seem to be environmentally conscious compared to youngest and oldest
counterparts… these concerns are all quite apocalyptic
“I think I get upset if I hadn’t done my homework or somebody sends me a horrible email or somebody
threatens me at school, I’m scared to go back.” [10 – 11 boy, ethnic]
Teenage concerns much more local – about friends, fitting in; very concerned about themselves and how
they look, what the opposite sex think of them, creating a niche for themselves among their peers that
doesn’t jar etc. The one worry that extends beyond their immediate circle is of internet predators, stranger
danger [sometimes echoed by 10 – 11 year olds]… significant numbers talk of receiving strange and
unusual messages
Urban disadvantaged teenage concerns revolve around violence and crime, being robbed on the
street… when talking about cars and road safety, more than one respondent talks of being anxious when
cars pull up by the curb near them, waiting for the window to come down and a gun to appear;
disadvantaged parents hugely concerned
19
2. ROAD SAFETY AS A CONCERN FOR
PARENTS AND CHILDREN cont.
“We live across the road from Geoffrey Chaucer school… I talk to my daughter, I say you beware and take
care, these friends of yours are bad, don’t do this, don’t do that… she is still scared, there is so much
trouble around here, boys are shooting each other.” [12 – 14 parent, disadvantaged]
“Somebody close to us was murdered by the Peckham boys in Deptford, near the Albany, a couple of
months ago…you have to be worried if you have boys of that age right now.” [12 – 14 parent,
disadvantaged]
“On my birthday, innit, the other day, yeah, I went to Wood Green cinema, innit, like, so I got on the bus
and I was with my wifey and that boy and then there was about 10/15 boys chilling at the back of the
bus and they had two young kids with them… 3 boys got on the bus, yeah, and the black boys were
saying to the young kids…they were probably in year 7, not even that…about 11/12…with kids my age,
yeah, older than that…and they was like ‘see that boy there, go and take his hat’…so the little boy went
up to the boy and he took his hat and the boy obviously took his hat back and then the little kid threw
his barbecue sauce in the boy’s face, so the boy obviously got up, innit like, to hit the boy and then all
the boys came down and they were like ‘we’re going to bang you in’ and the boy couldn’t do nothing,
they were taking his phone, slapping his face, the boy was getting slapped in the face by one kid, he
was like ‘sit down!’, so the boy sat down so the kid could slap him in the face took his phone and the
younger one, the boy goes to him ‘yeah, spud him’, so he spudded him and the little man goes ‘thanks
for your phone’ and just got off the bus boy. He said ‘thanks for giving me your phone,’ in other words
‘you’re a dick head.’” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
Not one child or teenage respondent spontaneously mentioned road safety as a concern, though
when prompted, it’s clearly more of an issue for rural children and teenagers
20
2. ROAD SAFETY AS A CONCERN FOR
PARENTS AND CHILDREN cont.
More specifically parental hierarchy
Urban
CRIME
INEQUALITY/POVERTY
ROAD SAFETY
(urban & disadvantaged)
ENVIRONMENT
TERRORISM/WAR
(white, middle class)
More Concern
EDUCATION
HEALTH
ENVIRONMENT
(ethnic, disadvantaged)
EMPLOYMENT
INTERNET/MEDIA
Less Concern
ROAD SAFETY
(rural)
Rural
21
3. ROAD SAFETY: PEDESTRIANS
22
3.1 OVERVIEW
All parents and children over the age of 7 claim they know about road safety
However on probing gaps in their knowledge become readily apparent
Parrot information rather than understand it eg they may be aware that crossing between parked cars is
dangerous but they are less certain as to why [see below]
“It’s bad because there could be people in the cars and they could start the engine and crush you.” [7 – 9
boy]
…reality for many in urban sample, crossing between parked cars is inevitable
With the exception of under 7s, vast majority all knowingly take risks to one degree or another
Under 7s risk taking more likely to be inadvertent eg parent having to pull back from the road
Significant number of children think they could teach their parents a thing or two about road safety.
Occasionally pull them up on their behaviour
Parents themselves admit that on occasion they are probably not the best role models eg in a rush or in the
company of another adult [focus more on occasion than safety issues]
“My parents don’t look at all, they are always talking when they cross the road but when my mum is just with
me she is quite good.” [7 – 9 boy]
What DfT considers risk-taking not always viewed as such by respondents… their normality is such that they
have to cross between parked cars, or have to wait in the middle of the road while traffic passes either side of
them, or can’t walk on well-lit streets because there aren’t any near them…
For younger, especially disadvantaged and some ethnic, crossing the road is an opportunity to assert
themselves, to garner respect… hence will just walk out bringing traffic to a screeching halt. Taking a risk, in
this context, is about bravado, in other contexts, for young people more generally, it is about having a laugh or
being in a rush or being in a hermetically sealed world of their own
23
3.1 OVERVIEW cont.
“When I’m in a bad mood sometimes I just walk out even if I see a car coming because I think they’re going
to stop. Say if I walked slowly and the car beeps at me then I will turn around and tell them to ‘fuck off.’”
[12 – 14 boy, disadvantaged]
“Yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying. To be honest with you, yeah, sometimes when I am angry…it kind
of depends, if the car’s far away and the car blatantly sees you, you’d expect them to have the decency to
stop but if you know they’re speeding up then you obviously get out the way but you’ll proper screw them
and if they stop you’ll be like ‘what a prick…drive on man!’ … do you know what I’m saying? …at the end of
the day it’s very unlikely on Bay Road that they’re going to run you over and get away with it.” [15 – 16
boy, disadvantaged]
“Yeah. Also, as well, yeah, like I know like you’re taking it out on the wrong people, yeah, but who’s ever
walked on a zebra crossing and a car don’t stop for you!? That zebra crossing; you’re supposed to stop the
car – that makes me mad – the next time a car don’t stop…I don’t even walk on the zebra crossing; I walk
next to the zebra crossing and if they don’t stop I’m like ‘you’re supposed to stop; this is a zebra crossing’
and then they’ll be like ‘well get on the zebra crossing’…’just shut up man, get in your car!” [15 – 16 boy,
disadvantaged]
In terms of how they get to school and with whom clear demarcation between some ethnic and most
disadvantaged sample and others between the ages of 7 – 10
Very few non-ethnic/non-disadvantaged making their own way to school under the age of 11 [still at
primary]
Evidence of some ethnic and disadvantaged making their own way to school from the age of 7 upwards;
majority of disadvantaged 9 – 10 year olds making their way to school without adult supervision
* Tower Hamlets RSO affirms that this is a huge issue in her borough, 7 – 10 year old Bengalis who can’t
speak English making their own way to school
Rural under 11s almost invariably taken by an adult to school or taken by an adult to school bus stop
24
3.1 OVERVIEW cont.
Urban children utilising mix of public transport and walking
* Urban buses perceived as potential flash point for danger… disadvantaged parents strongly advising
children not to sit on the top deck
“I’m not letting them go on the bus because it’s just horrendous. My son actually leaves home
almost 45 minutes earlier than he has to to avoid it – he leaves home at 7:15 in the morning.” [10
– 11 parent, disadvantaged]
Teenagers typically going to school with siblings or friends… again mix of transport modes, though all recognise
that when they are not on their own travelling time increases significantly, sometimes doubles, as they talk,
muck around, get up to mischief etc
“Yeah, we’ve got this thing we’ve been doing, we all take loads of eggs to school and then throw them at each
other on the way, sometimes you’ll hit somebody you don’t mean to, it’s a laugh.” [15 – 16 boy]
25
3.2 WHAT THEY KNOW [OR WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW]
Green Cross Code
Minority of children across sample spontaneously refer to Green Cross Code; other respondents in group
are quick to question what it is
Awareness far more common among parents though significant number think it no longer exists… still can
recall detail from learning as a child
* Parental view is that they were raised on Green Cross Code, and that’s what they try to instill in their
children… albeit it on an ad hoc rather than structured basis
Safety and Children/Teenagers
Seems like most children know the fundamentals of road safety at some level, whether they practice them
is another issue; their notion of what constitutes risk is different to the DFT’s
* Youngest children most likely to obey traffic signals
No teenagers think they have anything to learn about road safety
Significant number of 6 – 10s can recite ‘Stop, Look, Listen and Live’ line
* First port of call when asked what they know about road safety… and where line not quoted in its
entirety, will often answer ‘Look, Stop, Listen,’ or variations thereof, when asked what they know about
road safety
Otherwise, when asked about road safety 6 – 10s/11s most likely to comment on
* Excluding rural, where possible cross the road at pedestrian crossing, zebra crossing
* At pedestrian crossing wait until the man is green
− Younger with parents tend to wait, others will make a judgement on how far away traffic is and
then cross if light isn’t green
* Don’t run into the road without looking
26
3.2 WHAT THEY KNOW [OR WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW] cont.
* Don’t play too close to the main road
* Use ears as well as eyes when crossing the road
* Be careful of large vehicles such as lorries and buses, don’t stand too close to the edge of the pavement
because may be hit by them or be destabilised in their wake
* For 4 – 8s, hold mummy’s hand or an adult’s hand, especially when crossing the road
Teenagers do not consider anything other than overt risks as issues eg playing chicken, pushing
each other into the road, being wrapped up in your own concerns or dreams or music and wandering into
the road etc
* Having said that, where pushed will give moderator variations on what children know eg don’t lark
about near the road
27
3.3 WHERE THEY LEARN
Less sense of structured learning these days according to parents; in some instances parents talk as if their
children learn almost via osmosis
Practice/ad hoc learning tends to be imparted by parents, typically mother
Prompted by 1 of 2 things: either immediate circumstances eg come to a crossing with child, or by seeing
something which is being perceived as stupid – ‘Did you see that?’
“When they are in the car, you point out the prats on the road or on the pavement.” [10 – 11 parent]
More theoretical less practical
NB: feeling that more structured teaching re road safety in rural schools than urban counterparts
Sometimes imparted at school, either by teacher or older students, typically year 6 teaching
reception… younger more likely to listen to their older peers, versus a sign of how little importance schools
place on road safety, that they pawn it off on pupils and helpers
Some children talk of citizenship days where schools take them to various institutions such as police and
fire service, where they are lectured on and shown things about various aspects of safety
“We had a trip with my class, this man showed us about roads, these children were playing, these boys
were throwing a ball at the side of the road, one of the boys pushed a girl into the road and she got run
over by a bus, that’s stayed in my head, I thought it was sad.” [10 – 11 boy, ethnic]
Significant recall across younger sample of ‘Hedgehog’ stickers re ‘Be Bright At Night’ learning
“We were taught our Green Cross Code by our middle school and we were given ‘Hedgehog’ stickers.” [7
– 9 girl]
Occasional recall by children of work books relating to road safety being handed out for them to write
and draw on; in many instances unsupervised, left to their own devices – consequently book not engaged
with
28
3.3 WHERE THEY LEARN cont.
However, some parents talk of schools dropping it from their curriculum eg half of the Suffolk parent
sample complained about it having recently been dropped
Some disadvantaged and ethnic, particularly first generation migrant parents, think television
advertising is a valuable source of information for their children in this area
Other parents and children talk of ‘Hedgehog’ posters around school underscoring safety messages
A sense among disadvantaged and ethnic parents, particularly though not always exclusively, that it
is the school’s job to educate about road safety
Opinion former view is that the parental role is the most important, that children learn via practice
and example rather than theory
Children’s view is that both parents and schools have roles to play, former showing, latter teaching
Some anecdotal evidence that children learn in the short term from witnessing accidents or hearing about
them in their immediate locality eg saw a boy cycle into a lamppost, saw the residue on the road of a bad
motorcycle accident or even have been in pedestrian accidents themselves…
* Without wishing to belabour the obvious, the more serious the accident, the more long term the
behavioural change eg teenager in car accident wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, now always does; less
serious accidents engender more short term behavioural change eg one respondent had been knocked
over twice yet still admitted that he would run into the middle of the road and dodge traffic to catch the
bus rather than walk an extra 10 yards and use the crossing
* NB relevant for communications: goes towards substantiating the view that the more graphic or
more hard-hitting the communications, the more impactful they are
“I think if they got more vicious ads…I’m not saying like really violent but something more, then
people will (little kids as well) be more careful…like them proper car crashes where they hit
someone, then their arm comes off or something or their leg or whatever, that would be good.”
[15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
29
3.3 WHERE THEY LEARN cont.
As noted teenagers think they have learnt all that they need to know
Ad hoc learning is by example of their peers and friends rather than via anything parents or teachers say
* eg whether it’s playing chicken or running across the road through oncoming traffic or playing football
in the road, they follow their peers’ lead
30
3.4 WHAT PARENTS TEACH ABOUT SAFETY
Parents of 4 – 6 year olds
All parents of 4 – 6 year olds claim to explicitly teach their children about road safety
In all cases it’s ad hoc and dependent on being out in the real world
Teaching things like
* Stop and look before crossing the road
* Look left and right twice, even when the green man is indicating you can go
* Get off your bike before crossing the road
* Hold a grown up’s hand when crossing the road
* Repeat the ‘Hedgehogs’ strap line when crossing the road, ‘Stop, Look, Listen’
* In rural areas
− Walking in single file
− Walking on inside of mother/adult
But as noted, and as will be covered in an upcoming section, all parents including parents of 4 – 6 year olds
take risks in front of their children
Parents of 7 – 9 year olds
Still some degree of tutoring when out with your child eg insisting before crossing the road look first
But also a sense of children beginning to go out on their own…
… parents warning their children before they go out eg be careful near the main road, only cross at a zebra
crossing, etc
Some evidence that parents setting children tasks which involve exercising gumption on roads eg going to
get newspapers involves crossing a road
31
3.4 WHAT PARENTS TEACH ABOUT SAFETY cont.
One or two cases of role play where parent gets child to take the lead and make decisions
Parents of 10 – 11 year olds
Urban parents, disadvantaged parents and some ethnic parents beginning to back off from instructive role,
only intervene when see what they perceive as gross stupidity
Rural middle class parents switch in educative role from pedestrian to cycling eg encourage cycle helmets,
warn them about hanging PE kit on their bike handles, ensure that children keep their bikes safe; in three
cases, mothers actively campaigning to bring back cycle proficiency at school [see Cycling for more detail]
Some parents of the opinion that this represents the most dangerous age for their children, increasingly off
the leash, heady with scent of freedom
“And they say it’s the 9, 10 and 11 year olds that are most at risk because they want a bit more freedom
and they can think they know it all and they can do it all and they can’t. So it is definitely this age
group that are more at risk.” [10 – 11 parent, disadvantaged]
Again some sense that children going out is a prompt for parents to remind them to be careful
“I always say, ‘Don’t talk to anybody, stand back because if anybody is mucking about, you might get
pushed, don’t get on the busses, stay downstairs, don’t go upstairs, keep your phone in your pocket
even if it rings and check it later on.’” [10 – 11 parent, disadvantaged]
Parents of 12 – 14 year olds
Among ethnic and disadvantaged parents 2 views often prevail
* One is belief that their children are mature and sensible and would never do the kind of things
stereotypical early teens get up to
“Oh no, mine would never do things like that, she’s on the mature side, she behaves like an adult,
like a lady, she’s really okay.” [12 – 14 parent, disadvantaged]
32
3.4 WHAT PARENTS TEACH ABOUT SAFETY cont.
* The other is a sense that their children might be getting up to all sorts of mischief that is increasingly
difficult to track or control ; talk of their early teens exhibiting lots of ‘attitude’, won’t listen to parents
* Either way don’t bother with road safety chats any more… where counsel caution before teens go out,
they mean it in relation to substance abuse or violence or theft or rape
Parents of 15 – 16 year olds
Some ethnic and disadvantaged 15 – 16 year olds clearly barely on speaking terms with their parents…
though still respect and have a lot of time for grandparents
In other households, road safety much lower priority when children are going out unless they will be getting
lifts with mates in their cars… significant number of parents discourage this, versus teenagers not informing
their parents
A general sense that wary of proffering any advice …
“It’s hard to know what to say sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. You tell them one thing, and
they’ll do the other.” [15 – 16 parent, ethnic]
33
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK
As already noted perceptions of risk differ across urban and rural divide
Rural risk revolves around
Lack of street lights, no pavements, blind bends, narrow roads with traffic hurtling down it, lots of going
over the speed limit because of lack of police presence/knowledge where speed cameras are, T junctions
where there’s no pavements, no formalised pedestrian crossings, people messing about on unlit roads late
at night on weekends etc
“It’s difficult sometimes, you can’t see what’s coming, you just have to run out and hope.” [12 – 14 girl]
Having said that, rural respondents talk of taking similar risks to their urban counterparts eg
* Walking across the road in groups talking to each other rather than looking
* People absorbed in mobile phone or music drifting across the road
* Messing around by the road
* Run out in front of cars, either because in a rush or out of bravado
4 – 6 year olds
4 – 6 can barely conceive of risky behaviour by the road
1 recalls playing with friends on pavement in front of his house, while his mother chatted, tripping and
falling into the road while traffic was passing
Parents of 4 –6 year olds have no problems recalling examples of their own risky behaviour in relation to
their children; risk taking prompted by being in a rush, typically
* Crossing a wide main road and having to hang in the middle and wait for cars to pass
* Crossing between parked cars
34
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK cont.
* More risky behaviour includes
− Getting children out of the car on road side
− Running across the road with a child
− Dropping something and pausing to pick it up
− Crossing in front of buses and vans
− Using push chair with younger sibling in it to slow down the traffic
− Crossing a relatively busy road when the pedestrian light is green
“I will cross the road when the red sign is on, contrary to everything I taught my children…this
morning we both got caught in the filter lane crossing the road.” [4 – 6 parent, ethnic]
7 – 9 year olds
Rural risks already noted… we spoke with 7 – 9 year old parents in Suffolk and 7 – 9 year old children in
Somerset
Two parents of 7 – 9 year olds in Cheshire have children with ADHD, makes road safety a nightmare when
children are driven by impulse: for example, if boy’s ball goes out into the road, he runs after it without
looking…behaviour kicks in before thinking
“You have a young, impulsive child who can’t read properly. It’s a nightmare around the roads.” [7 – 9
parent, disadvantaged]
7 – 9 year old respondents are generally fairly well-behaved on the roads, traffic can still scare them, words
of their parents or teachers still ringing in their ears; wrongdoing tends to be of the crossing the road when
the pedestrian light is red variety
Parental risk in front of children
* Some adamant they try not to take risk in front of children, at worst may jay walk
35
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK cont.
* Interestingly some children claim that their parents only very occasionally will take an overt risk, for
example crossing when the pedestrian light is red, but in the main, will do things like always look before
crossing or always wait until road is empty before crossing
* Having said that plenty of parents of 7 – 9 year olds claim they will cross between parked cars, they
don’t necessarily wait until the man is green etc
“I don’t even consider these as risks, I know I can judge it, I know I shouldn’t, but I do.” [7 – 9
parent]
* Significant number claim that everyone has to break rules when they live in urban or suburban areas;
many claim they won’t walk several yards out of their way to walk across a zebra crossing
10 – 11 year olds
Risk taking on the roads steps up a level
Going out on their own and with groups of friends more regularly… not as often as their teenage
counterparts, but often enough to be away from adult supervision for extended periods of time
* In rural areas talk of playing chicken on the roads, and on rail tracks
* Increasing tendency to walk out into road without looking, engrossed in mobile phone conversation or
friend’s conversation
* Cross between parked cars without even thinking it an issue
* Increasingly make judgements about cars and distance, willing to take a punt
“A couple of days ago me and my friend were crossing the road and do you know when it was like
hailing in the morning and it was really pouring with rain; none of the cars could see us and we
could see that they couldn’t see and we were in the middle of the road and there was an island
near by but we didn’t take it because it was quite far away and we were in the middle of the road
just like trying to get our blazers over our heads and no cars would see us and I was really scared
because I thought ‘oh, no cars can’t see us’, so we just ran straight across.” [10 – 11 girl]
36
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK cont.
“I think the most important thing for me is if I’m with a big group of people and like a few of them
will cross, I’ll just go along with them but when they cross a car’ll be further away but by the time
I’m crossing it would be closer but I’ll still do it.” [10 – 11 girl]
* More horseplay by the side of the road, lots of talk about people being pushed into the road, off the
pavement; more games being played at the side of the road eg football
“We were playing football by the road and the ball fell into the road and my friend ran out after it but
a car ran over the ball and it sounded like a gunshot.” [10 – 11 boy, ethnic]
* Taking minor risks as a matter of course eg will cross on red man if don’t see any cars, will cross if see
a car in the distance etc
Not every 10 year old behaving like this, some still claim that they will seek out pedestrian crossing or
won’t cross on the green man, just that they are increasingly the minority
Parental example not always exemplary as per above
* 1 female talks of her dad running across the road without waiting when he’s exercising because he
wants to beat his own record, regularly gets honked by cars
* 1 10 year old regularly has to berate her mum about running across the road
* 1 parent talks of listening rather than looking carefully when they cross the road, etc etc
37
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK cont.
12 – 14 year olds
More blatant disregard for rules and regulations apparent among some… eg aggressive pedestrian
behaviour in relation to oncoming traffic among disadvantaged cited
“My son said let me cross the road Shaq style, I had to curse him out and he just walked right out and I
see him crossing & I say but the lights are green but he says but the car has to stop…I was so
angry…he could have been knocked down and not claim a penny.” [12 – 14 parent, disadvantaged]
“He sticks his finger up at cars that won’t stop for him.” [12 – 14 parent, disadvantaged]
More evidence of herd behaviour where group is engrossed in its conversations and machinations, tendency
to drift into the road; noted by 12 – 14 year olds and their parents
“When they’re in groups they’re so engrossed in conversation they just walk out like cattle in a field and
they forgot they’re on a main road… I see motorists having to come to a standstill, kids just walk and
they don’t notice there’s a car right beside them.” [12 – 14 parent, disadvantaged]
More talk of crossing the road without looking, just listening… 12 – 14 year olds as well as parents
Some sense that rural respondents not quite as big risk takers, cars faster, more blind bends on roads, no
pedestrian crossings etc… have to be more careful (though also seems more evidence of ‘chicken’ in rural
parts…driven to it by boredom)
Parents and risk taking
* As per before, some parents clearly not always providing the best example to their children
* Admit things like when in a hurry, cross between crossed cars or walk out into a road when there’s
oncoming traffic
“Sometimes we break the laws when we’re in a hurry, sometimes my kids are more conscious than
me, they’ll be like, ‘Mum, there’s a car coming.’” [12 – 14 parent, ethnic]
38
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK cont.
* Urban parents claim they have no choice but to cross between parked cars etc, are less worried about
being a bad example in some cases, children are older and capable of correcting their parents, need
less guidance
* Minority of parents insist they don’t take what they perceive as risks in front of their children unless
they’re absolutely forced to – cuts across ethnic, disadvantaged and other
* Middle-class parents surprisingly honest, for whatever reason their lives sometimes feel busier, which
means they will take more risks
15 – 16 year olds
Fairly consistent with above
The one thing that is more marked is violent horseplay among males, particularly though not necessarily
exclusively, urban, ethnic, disadvantaged
* Lots of pushing people into the roads, wrestling at the roadside, trying to see who can run across the
road fastest when buses coming, deliberately dodging traffic, play fights in the middle of the road,
playing football across a road rather than alongside, jumping on and off buses at high speed etc
“I’ve dropped so many times, I jumped off a bus into a lamp post once.” [15 – 16 boy,
disadvantaged]
Parental risk taking
* Teenagers of this age less likely to put parents on a pedestal, more likely to spot poor judgement re
road safety
39
3.5 PEDESTRIAN RISK cont.
* Disadvantaged and ethnic teenagers sometimes seem more in conflict with their parents than their
more middle class counterparts, cite poor parental behaviour by the roadside as indicator of general
parental failure or instability
“My mum is fucking crazy man, she runs straight across the road when she sees a friend, she
doesn’t look.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“My dad climbs over a fence to cross the Walworth Road, when it’s really busy, he’s insane, he just
crosses wherever he wants.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
40
4. ROAD SAFETY AND CYCLING
41
4.1 OVERVIEW
Difference between urban and rural
Across sample in rural areas more concern about safety in relation to cycling
“I’d rather cycle in Croydon than Suffolk, people are more aware of bikes in London, there’s more
speeding around here. The roads are narrower.” [10 – 11 parent]
* Narrow winding roads
* No cycle lanes or any attempt to accommodate cyclists as per urban areas
* Poorly lit at night
* Fast cars with overconfident drivers
* Parents talk of cycles getting strung out with traffic weaving between them, makes children wobble on
their bikes
* Rural parents talk of confusion re cycling versus pedestrian, children have to bike on the opposite side
of the road that they walk on
* In Suffolk lots of large agricultural traffic which is very intimidating when it passes you, sense that
driver is so high up he can’t actually see cyclists and has to make a judgement call
* In Somerset so many accidents --- one school has virtually banned cycling to and from school
* Rural respondents more likely to have taken cycle proficiency course, significant number of urban who
have started course and subsequently dropped out…complaints about it being spread over too big a
time period
Urban cycling
* More cycling for leisure in parks, estates, BMX and other bike tracks etc where traffic risk is lower than
rural; some urban respondents think that cycling in inner cities is not really feasible, weight of traffic
too much, lack of open space where cyclists can let rip etc
42
4.1 OVERVIEW cont.
* Cycling on pavement common … very few complaints heard from adults when children and teenagers
pass them on the pavement; no one sure about legal issues
“People our age don’t necessarily go on the road; people our age, you see them cycling on the
pavement, it’s more older people cycling along the road.” [10 – 11 girl]
* Bicycle theft much bigger issue for urban, especially disadvantaged; some give up on cycling because of
repeated theft
− Questions re looking after your bike often initially answered in terms of chaining your bike to a
lamppost rather than maintaining it
* Seems to be more active messing around and taking of risks in urban areas where there is a lot more
street furniture that can be ridden around or over, more things to race
“To be honest, sometimes me and my boys do get a bit excited on the bikes, say if you’re riding. a
car’s there, you’d quickly just boss past him, you know, one of them ones there – one time my
friend got clipped a little bit, like he fell off the bike and bumped his head but if the car was going
faster, I’d say it could have been much more severe – so I’m not really on them type of vibes any
more boy; I’d rather just wait for the car to pass and then go.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
Cycling Maintenance
No pattern to maintenance beyond a sense that some dads get bike out of garage at beginning of
spring/summer to give it the once over
Otherwise across sample occasional evidence of a person claiming to keep their bike well-maintained
For majority maintenance is crisis management eg get a puncture, chain breaks
Safety
Helmet wearing seems slightly more prevalent in rural areas
43
4.1 OVERVIEW cont.
* Perhaps symptom of more BC1 penetration and scale of risk
* Uptake always driven by parent, to the point where if parent not around, will often try and avoid
wearing helmet
“If everybody has gone to the beach, and I’m on my own and I go out on my bike, I won’t wear a
helmet.” [10 – 11 girl]
My mum’s always going on that I should wear a helmet but I don’t actually go that far and I usually
just stay in the park with my friends [10 – 11 girl]
“Mum makes me wear one but I won’t if she’s not there, I know you’re supposed to but… it’s easier
not to.” [10 – 11 girl]
* Once into teens becomes harder to enforce helmet wearing
For rest of sample helmet wearing hugely contentious on grounds that it leaves wearer open to
ridicule
“We don’t wear helmets or lights or pads or anything. They’re for babies. But I have worn a helmet on
my mini motor.” [10 – 11 boy]
* Commonly held perception that helmets are for people learning to ride bikes or for bike fanatics who
cycle a long way out of there immediate neighbourhood
“I don’t need a helmet because I know how to ride a bike.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
“If you’ve got common sense, there’s no need to wear a helmet. I would say to a mate, you look
like a queer, take it off.” [12 – 14 boy, disadvantaged]
“People who are serious about cycling, who actually go on long journeys, not just down the road”
[12 – 14 boy, ethnic]
44
4.1 OVERVIEW cont.
* Others claim not to wear because helmets are uncomfortable [and they don’t need them]
“ No, it’s just really uncomfortable, I know that I wouldn’t have a serious accident on the bike
because I can control it. If I fell off, I’d usually fall on my side, not head first.” [12 – 14 boy,
ethnic]
“To be honest, my helmet is massive and it looks a bit weird, we don’t really go on the road.” [10 –
11 boy]
“It makes you look like a monkey, it makes you look like an idiot.” [10 – 11 boy]
“I’ve never worn one since I was little. Not wearing helmets is a fashion thing, isn’t it?” [15 – 16
boy, disadvantaged]
* Some younger, least dismissive of helmets, state that they may be more likely to wear a helmet if it
was sold alongside the bike – if they had one might wear it but not the sort of thing they will ask for
Lights
* Less divisive than helmets
“It’s normally a fashion thing but it doesn’t really bother me, but I’m not going to go out and buy
them.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
* However not always utilised, typically on grounds that they are nerdy and betray lack of confidence, or
claim not to cycle at night
− “I only cycle up and down this one road because like me and all my friends are just like round the
corner from my house, so I get to stay out there until it’s late and there’s lots of pavements so we
don’t use the road and there’s obviously street lights so we don’t use lights” [10 – 11 girl]
* Significant number of disadvantaged actively taking lights off their bike
− Potential point of attraction re robbery
45
4.1 OVERVIEW cont.
“Yeah, I think that just makes it more bait for someone to rob it.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
− Some disadvantaged do not want to be seen when they are cycling around their environment...
46
4.2 WHAT THEY KNOW [OR WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW]
Those who haven’t been on cycle proficiency think cycling involves common sense
Use a bell to warn [though hardly any of them do]
At night go on the pavement [where there is pavement]
Don’t cycle in the middle of the road unless you’re turning
Use hand signals when it’s busy
* However there are many who just don’t bother or, in the case of under 11s, not confident enough to
* Significant number of urban think hand signals are plonky, make them look foolish or goody-goody
“What if you look behind you and a car’s coming into you? They should be able to see!” [10 – 11
boy]
“I’d rather just wait for the car to go – the car should know, by the way you’re driving, you’ll start
looking back and then looking the way you’re going to go, so if they’ve got the decency, they’ll
stop, if not then you just wait for them but I wouldn’t go out of my way to bother going around.”
[15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“It’s pretty stupid me saying it because I know it can save lives, yeah, but I’m not the type.” [15 –
16 boy, disadvantaged]
Those who have doing cycling proficiency test typically have been trained in increments of an hour across
a number of weeks and then been assessed
Learn about things like
* How to signal
“In my cycle club I learned that you look behind you first, then you put your hand out. That’s right,
isn’t it?” [10 – 11 boy]
* Pulling out into the middle of the road
47
4.2 WHAT THEY KNOW [OR WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW] cont.
* Where and when not to stop
* Wearing helmets and reflective clothing
And do exercises like cycling in and out of cones
Role of parents
Relatively negligible in urban areas
In rural areas
* Parents more likely to supervise youngest children when they are on bicycles eg go out with them for
rides
* Some parents walk along side children when they ride to school
* Parental influence on helmet wearing noted, especially rural
* Give tips to children such as wear your satchel on hedge rather than roadside
No cycling role models beyond their own peers
48
4.3 CYCLIST RISK
Parents think of risk in terms of danger from traffic, safety procedures such as helmet wearing or
standard rule breaking eg cycling without lights
Children and teenagers think of risk in terms of harming themselves via stunts and tricks or
horseplay
Majority of risk taking occurs in groups and among males, apart from more standard misdemeanors like
cycling through red light or on pavement
Muslim girls in Birmingham associate cycling with Tomboyish risk-taking behaviour, dismiss on those
grounds
As noted, rural cyclists more conscious of imminent danger on road
Narrow roads, poor lighting, fast cars etc
In Suffolk farm traffic, grain lorries and low loaders a big issue… perceived as very dangerous re children on
bikes
“When we see them coming, we stop or dive into a hedge.” [10 – 11 girl]
Re safety
Majority err towards not wearing helmets; significant number of them don’t conceive of this as a risk
Significant numbers not using arm signals, or where using them may just be to say thank you or wave to a
mate… again, not perceived as a risk
Not having lights more likely to be perceived as a risk, even though some avoid them for reasons of fashion
etc
Stunts and tricks
A lot of cycling with no hands amongst 10 + males
49
4.3 CYCLIST RISK cont.
Significant number doing wheelies, sometimes on private land or on tracks, but sometimes on main roads;
some talk of doing ‘ghosties’ – jumping off your bike as it’s moving
“If you see girls when you’re out on your bike, you’ll show off. You’ll do wheelies in front of them.” [15 –
16 boy, ethnic]
Using street furniture in shopping centres to facilitate stunts eg jump off steps
Minority taking bicycles into skateboard parks and barreling down ramps etc
Lots of cycling with more than one person on the bike
* Passengers stand on chip nuts…recent trend for chip nuts to be on front wheel, so passenger is the
cyclist’s eyes
“I have chip nuts on the back of my bike so you can stand on the back when I’m cycling, I don’t
think it’s safe, but we still do it, when I’m riding I slip back on the person behind me.” [10 – 11
boy]
“It’s a bit dangerous because the passenger tries to control the bike when he’s on chip nuts.” [10 –
11 boy, disadvantaged]
* If not chip nuts, will sit on handlebars or cross bar
180 degree skids or deliberately skidding in rain or on snow common at time of year research undertaken
[February]
Violent horseplay
Among males 11+ a significant number who will have (mock) fights with each other whilst on bikes
* eg push each other off when moving, cut each other up, try to ram each other’s wheels with their chip
nuts, tyre burns [rub your front wheel on their back wheel whilst cycling]
50
4.3 CYCLIST RISK cont.
* Bike jousting
“There’s lots of people trying to punch you off.” [15 – 16 boy]
Competitive Cycling
A lot of racing each other in inappropriate environments
“We were racing down a one way street and we had to swerve out of the way of oncoming cars.” [12 – 14
boy]
Thrill of race overtakes common sense
“It’s like when we’re all in a batch and somebody says ‘race’ and we try to weave in and out of the
traffic.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
Some talk of racing cars at traffic lights
Misdemeanors: below often not thought of as unduly risky
Cycling through red lights
Cycling on pavement; some talk of riding through people on the pavement in a big gang
Listening to music
Talking and texting on telephone
51
5. IN CAR ISSUES
52
5.1 OVERVIEW OF HOW RURAL VS. URBAN, ETHNIC VS.
DISADVANTAGED VS. MIDDLE CLASS IMPACTS ON IN CAR ISSUES
Rural
More reliance on car, public transport a lot patchier
Narrow, winding roads which often feel unpoliced
* Evidence that people can be over confident when driving on narrow roads they feel they know
“We all speed at some point, people that know country roads speed around blind corners all the
time.” [10 – 11 parent]
Much more drink driving
“Oh drink driving is a big problem around here in the early hours of the morning… there’s lots of fatal
accidents where no one else is involved, it can only be alcohol. It doesn’t happen as much in big towns
where people are more scared of the police.” [7 – 9 parent]
“We’re always finding lots of empty vodka bottles around the village green, you know that means there’s
lots of teens drinking and driving.” [7 – 9 parent]
Respondents who have lived in cities and rural areas assert that there are more very old people who are
barely fit to drive behind the wheel in rural areas
Ethnic vs. Disadvantaged vs. Middle Class
Among the most disadvantaged some evidence that car experience fairly limited eg only getting in one a
couple of times a year
Among some ethnic and disadvantaged, a sense that there is more bravado and reckless behaviour in
mates’ cars than there is among more middle class respondents, especially female
A number, across all teenage sample (not just disadvantaged) who have had experience being driven by
people on drugs, or drunk, or both… consensus, where there is experience, seems to be that it is safer to
be driven by somebody who has been smoking cannabis than it is to be driven by somebody who has drunk
excess alcohol [see later for more detail]
53
5.2 OPINION FORMER OVERVIEW
OF THE VERY BIGGEST ISSUES
Biggest causes for concern outside London perceived as per below
In car behaviour when friends are driven by mates rather than parents
Teenagers being involved in accidents on rural roads and urban radial routes where vehicles lose control on
bends
Non-seat belt wearing among teenagers
Excess speed among inexperienced drivers, combined with drugs and alcohol
Among some disadvantaged outside of London ‘driving’ and ‘riding’ in stolen vehicles – all for the thrill with
very little regard for any road rules/sense
Biggest causes for concern in London perceived as per below
Lack of knowledge among recent immigrant parents, inexperience re London roads among their children
In car behaviour among teenagers with mates
54
5.3 SAFETY IN THE PARENTAL CAR
Among many parents of under 10s consensus seems to be
Appropriate children [under 12 or under height] sit in a car seat/booster seat
Exception seems to be where there are 3+ children under age… then tendency is for two to sit in booster
seats and one to utilise seat belt
“In my dad’s car we take turns to sit in the front without a booster seat, we don’t fit in the back.” [7 – 9
boy, disadvantaged]
However, blatant disregard for booster seat legislation noted among minority
* eg under 10 in Birmingham told by his mum that ‘that law didn’t exist anymore’
* eg not enough space for all children to have booster seats, so none have them
* eg regularly take out booster seats when ferrying children about
“When my mum picks us up from dance she takes all the seats out and then two of us go in the boot
as well.” [10 – 11 girl]
Interesting to note that pre-legislation a significant number of parents, including middle classes, didn’t utilise
booster seats…legislation has driven uptake
“I only started using the booster seat when the new rules came in, I didn’t realise before that I had to
have a booster seat.” [7 – 9 parent]
When young children are driven in another car, the majority of parents desire a booster seat in that car…
where not possible, will utilise seat belt. Not very many parents would allow under size child into another
adult’s car without a seat belt if there was no booster seat
Among parents of children who are too big for booster seat and teenagers the majority will insist on their
child wearing a seat belt in the front of the car, but don’t necessarily insist on belt in back of the car
55
5.3 SAFETY IN THE PARENTAL CAR cont.
Interestingly ethnic and disadvantaged parents often seem to be quite strict about seat belt usage,
though significant exceptions are noted and picked up on by children; middle classes, especially in rural
areas, sometimes seem a little more lax, possibly rooted in using the car a lot more, a lot of short
distance trips on familiar roads; these middle class respondents the most likely to claim they only wear seat
belts sometimes, when in a rush or travelling short distance they may not
“We don’t wear seat belts when we’re going short distances or when we’re in the back of the car.” [15 –
16 boy]
Those who are most lax about seat belt wearing among their children or themselves often insist on buckling
up over longer distances
“Driving to the corner shop my dad’s proper lazy, if he’s driving up to Nandos I won’t put a seat belt on,
but if we’re on the M40 or the A41 then yeah, I’d put a belt on.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
Some sense of seat belt wearing declining as teenagers grow older
“I don’t wear a seat belt in the back anymore, and if I’m in the front, I only put it on if I see the police or
if my mum’s in the car, she tells me to.” [15 – 16 boy]
N.B. Spontaneous recall of seat belt advertising
“My mum always says ‘put your seat belt on’ and my brother never listens but I do and then when I’m in
my dad’s car he never puts his seat belt on and I’m like put your seat belt on because I saw this advert
where someone didn’t have his seat belt on and the son went into the back of the mum and killed her.”
[12 – 14 girl]
…but for some low salience can equate to ‘unimportant’ issue
“Well there’s hardly any adverts about them anymore, there used to be quite a few, I just don’t take seat
belts that seriously anymore.” [12 – 14 girl]
Anecdotal evidence that fathers far more slack than mothers re wearing and encouraging offspring to wear
seat belts
56
5.3 SAFETY IN THE PARENTAL CAR cont.
Some parents strict re seat belt usage out of personal experience – been in accident where seat belt
has prevented more damage or where lack of seat belt facilitated more damage
“Mum doesn’t always wear a seat belt, dad does because he had a road accident and he makes us wear
one as well.” [10 – 11 boy, ethnic]
Parents that insist on seat belt wearing in their own car insist on same in other adults’ cars, on behalf of
their children
Some evidence that children hector parents if they don’t wear a seat belt, though they are less likely
to hector another adult even if he is family
“My dad always drives with a seat belt, my mum sometimes doesn’t wear it, but I’ll say to her, ‘oi, put on
your belt’, but my big brother doesn’t always drive with one on, he’s 21, but I mind my own business
with him.”
* Interesting that sibling responsibility often only works one way, older to younger; evidence that
younger fear older response if they correct them
However significant number of younger children admit to pretending they have put their seat belt
on…and testify that parents/adult rarely check
“I just hold it across me and don’t click it in.” [10 – 11 girl]
* In addition, significant number of under 10s state that they have more difficulty/struggle with their seat
belt when in booster seat… can be too embarrassed to admit they can’t do it
Interesting to note respondents not ridiculed by peers if they do always wear a seat belt, do not
feel as though they have to justify their actions to the same extent or they might do with other safety
issues eg cycle helmets
“I just put it on ‘cos I’m scared of dying in a car crash to be honest, you get them stupid drivers like they
could be in front of you or behind you, it’s better to be safe.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
57
5.4 IN CAR RISK
58
5.4.1 WHAT SCARES CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN CAR
Some differences between urban and rural sample noted
eg urban sample, particularly ethnic and disadvantaged fear cars drawing up alongside them, window
winding down… junkies banging on car windows at traffic lights…
eg rural sample more vocal re fear of agricultural traffic, eg tractors, overtaking or being overtaken on
narrow roads… obstructions in the road after bad weather… driving when roads are flooding
Under 11s more likely to be scared of speed than their teenage counterparts; 15 – 16 year olds more likely to
be thrilled by speed
Under 11s more likely to be scared by what they perceive as bad driving by inexperienced driver; 15 – 16
year olds more likely to accept as par for the course, and anyway, they feel immortal, don’t expect anything bad
to happen to them when a mate is driving
Under 11s more likely to be scared by a parent’s bad driving eg driving fast when annoyed; 15 – 16 more
likely to be contemptuous of a parent’s driving; 15 – 16 year old will shout at their mum as she rummages on
the floor for a CD, whilst driving, younger will feel genuine fear [in Suffolk had two sisters in separate groups
who complained about their mum in this light]… one 16 year old complains that their dad cuts people up at
traffic lights or has been known to go through red lights, dismisses parental behaviour as dozy rather than
scary…occasional evidence of a 15 – 16 year old being scared by parental bad driving, eg dad tailgates, but is
much rarer among this age group and generally limited to middle classes
“My dad drives too fast really all the time. I ask him to slow down ‘cos I am scared but he says he’s driving
dead good.” [7 – 9 boy]
All respondents share some fears in common
Cars crossing over the white line coming towards you
Large vehicles approaching you on a tight road
Lorries overtaking, being sucked into their slipstream
59
5.4.1 WHAT SCARES CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN CAR cont.
Driving through a red light [anecdotal evidence that not uncommon, particularly when parent is in a rush or
claims to know traffic signals/road]
Important to note, significant number of children, especially girls, wary and nervous of asking someone to
slow down, particularly if not immediate family
May feign illness to try and get driver to slow down
“I might say like I feel sick, can you drive slower?” [7 – 9 girl]
Talk about adopting different diplomatic approaches eg make a joke about it
“I would make a joke about it, go softly softly and hope they got the hint.” [12 – 14 girl]
…versus too nervous to speak up
“I would be too scared to say anything. I would just cross my fingers and hope for the best.” [10 – 11
girl]
…and no point
“Yeah because my dad when he drives really fast and I ask him to slow down and he’s like ‘oh don’t be a
wimp.” [10 – 11 girl]
“He tells us off, he’d be like ‘don’t tell me how to drive’ and all this ‘I’m driving.” [12 – 14 girl]
“I’m not too scared but it’s pointless, they won’t listen…it’s ‘I’m a kid, I don’t know anything.’” [10 – 11
girl]
More specifically
7 – 9 year olds
* Going through a red light
* Cars overtaking on blind bends or on narrow roads
60
5.4.1 WHAT SCARES CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN CAR cont.
10 – 11 year olds
* As per 7 – 9 year olds plus
* Breaking sharply when you’re watching a DVD (in car DVD watching big among BC1s)
* Fast busses on 30 mph roads
* Parents or older siblings doing stupid tricks eg dad going a 180 degree turn on a dual carriageway
“The worst driver I know is my dad, he’s mental… he drives very fast when he’s angry.” [10 – 11
boy]
“My step dad drives too fast and he has really sharp brakes.” [10 –11 girl]
“My uncle has a big 4x4 and he drives it really fast and it’s really bumpy and uncomfortable.” [10 –
11 girl]
“My brother drives too fast, it can get scary.” [10 – 11 boy]
“I hate it when lorries overtake you in the dark and then cut across into our lane.” [10 – 11 girl]
12 – 14 year olds
* Sibling or parental fast driving can still intimidate
* Big lorries still an issue, especially in rural areas
* Driving fast over sleeping policemen
* Beginning to accrue more experience of accidents eg
“We were late and mum turned the car into a tree because she was driving too fast and panicking.
We had a crash and the whole wing side came off.” [12 – 14 boy]
“A van hit our car and the window screen shattered, it was shocking.” [12 – 14 boy]
61
5.4.1 WHAT SCARES CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN CAR cont.
15 – 16 year olds
* Less likely to cite above reasons, though still occasionally do
* More likely to cite horseplay and foolishness
− eg uncle driving with his feet on the steering wheel
− eg friend who drives fast, backwards
* Ethnic and disadvantaged more likely to express fear, as noted, if a car pulls up alongside them and
window comes down
“Listen, boy, you better know when to move off, like when someone pulls up and the window comes
down, you don’t know if a gun’s going to come out or what.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
Re what makes respondents feel safe
Seat belts
Being able to see the road
Being with people who are trusted
Being with people who are calm, no arguments in car
For significant numbers, especially younger, within 10 mph of the speed limit
Only overtaking when road is clear and visible, both ways
62
5.4.2 MORE ON PARENTAL EXAMPLE
Parents generally surprisingly frank about their own driving
Not all parents are a bad example to their children when behind the wheel of their car but enough are for it to
be an issue
Parental admissions in this area affirm some children and teenagers concerns about mum or dad’s driving
Significant number of parents don’t wear seat belts on short journeys as noted – particularly, though not
exclusively, rural [strange how some rural respondents seem to feel like they have more control over their
environment and that less harm will come to them in their car, despite road safety being a live issue in the
countryside]
“I think five miles is a viable distance for not wearing a seat belt.” [7 – 9 parent]
One rural dad refuses to wear a seat belt even after someone drove into him
Another rural dad never wore one and only started doing so recently because he has a new van and the
light flashes until he puts a belt on
Very funny story cited by one rural dad, police pulled up beside him and made a hand gesture which he
interpreted as grossly insulting so he flipped them a V sign… when pulled over it transpired the police hand
signal was intended to indicate he should strap himself in his seat belt [“I thought he was calling me a
tosser”, 7 – 9 parent]
Some evidence re minority of ethnic disadvantaged parents who are set in their ways refusing to wear seat
belts, rooted in some sort of machismo according to their children
“I can’t tell him to put it on, he just looks at me funny.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
Significant number will admit to driving more recklessly if late or rushed
63
5.4.2 MORE ON PARENTAL EXAMPLE cont.
Evidence that parents are taking calculated risks
“If I’ve got my daughter in the car, I will drive fast if we’re late, I will drop speed when going through a
village and I’ll keep my eye open for kids playing by the road, but if there’s no one about, you know
where the speed cameras are in this part of Suffolk and I’ll just floor it.” [7 – 9 parent]
Some examples cited of parents, particularly dad, performing stupid tricks in the car to impress kids
“Dad wiggles the car sometimes when we’re driving, or when we’re driving at night he’ll sometimes turn the
lights off and go ‘whoooo’.” [15 – 16 girl]
Others talk of dad taking hands off steering wheel, driving with just one finger on steering wheel etc etc
Some children and teenage respondents talk of dad’s risky behaviour eg always on the mobile while driving or
roll cigarettes while driving [‘I think that’s really slick,’ 15 – 16 girl]
Road rage not uncommon across mums and dads when children are in the car, cited reasons include
“You only realise how bad you must be when your kids start bad mouthing other drivers.” [10 – 11 parent]
Getting stuck behind an excessively slow driver
Car pulls out in front of you and slows you down
Cars jumping the queue when on slip road joining main road
Not giving way on appropriate roads
“He’ll [respondent’s son] say ‘that man was naughty’ and I’ll forget they’re in the car and start shouting
‘dickhead’ or I do a lot of ‘what fucking planet are you from?’” [7 – 9 parent]
Road rage leads to irrational behaviour eg will drive on wrong side of the road to overtake somebody when
can’t see clearly, will tailgate somebody because they’ve cut them up etc
64
5.4.2 MORE ON PARENTAL EXAMPLE cont.
3 mums in Cheshire group have had speeding tickets issued in the last year, when their children have been in
the car
“I got a speeding ticket on the A6, I deserve a medal for that, how can anybody speed on that road? There’s
always huge queues of traffic.” [7 – 9 parent]
65
5.4.3 RISKY DRIVING BY MATES
The majority of 15 – 16 year olds and significant numbers of 12 – 14 year olds recognise that behaviour in a
friend’s car may often differ markedly to in the parental car…more high jinxs, more talking, louder
music, generally more risky behaviour
Parents of 12 – 14 year olds often adamant that they do not approve of their children getting in car with older
teenagers driving, assert that they don’t let them out in cars driven by people other than their parents unless
the driver has been vetted
“Get into older friends cars? No, I don’t support that at all, he’s not doing that.” [12 – 14 parent, ethnic]
Lots of stories cited across teenager groups that would make their parents very anxious and would confirm
parental fears about their offspring driving with people who have only just passed their test
Horror stories are across class, ethnicity, and the advantaged/disadvantaged axis…however tend to be
perpetrated by males rather than females, although females are often in the car at the time. Examples include
Friend jumping out of a car at 20 mph because someone was trying to set fire to him
Trying to drive on two wheels, get everybody to pile over to one side of the vehicle
Kicked open a door when the car was moving fast
Wrestling on the front seat and suddenly trying to grab the steering wheel
Driver somehow managed to lift his backside and fart in the face of a passenger
Set fire to front passenger’s farts whilst driving fast
Put a bag over the driver’s head while driving fast
Turn off the ignition while the car is in motion
Regularly do hand brake turns
Drives off when passenger only has one foot in the car, necessitates having to throw self in, otherwise
would be killed or badly injured
66
5.4.3 RISKY DRIVING BY MATES cont.
Trying to overtake at the most inappropriate times, in the most unsafe circumstances
“Clay was in a really rubbish car and he was raggin’ it, he tried to overtake this bloke on top of a hill, and
just as he was going past him, all this oncoming traffic came towards us, we were all screaming.” [15 –
16 boy]
Significant numbers of teenagers, particularly 15 – 16 year olds, can recognise stupid behaviour in
others…but still kind of condone it because it’s funny or thrilling or transgressive
Significant minority talk of being in car and driven by somebody who has been drinking or smoking
cannabis
As noted, the majority of these respondents think it’s ultimately safer being driven by somebody who’s
stoned rather than drunk: perception is cannabis raises awareness at some levels, makes user more
cautious and less likely to be reckless
“I think spliff makes them more aware, maybe they’re less stressed about getting places, I think they
react to dangerous things better… alcohol is worse for people, they don’t know what they’re doing if
they’re drunk, whereas if they’ve been smoking weed, they’re just more aware of things.” [15 – 16 boy,
disadvantaged]
“With alcohol you pass out, whereas with weed you don’t pass out…mind you we have one friend who
gets stoned and drunk and then he drives, he gets very angry easily and drives fast, overtakes when he
shouldn’t do.” [15 – 16 girl]
General consensus that mixing alcohol and cannabis dulls the senses, leads to stupid/risky behaviour
Interesting difference noted between more ethnic or disadvantaged end of the urban/suburban sample and
significant number of rural counterparts, possibly rooted in the fact that rural respondents more resolutely
middle class, have been on the receiving end of more vociferous anti drink and drug driving messages from
their parents
67
5.4.3 RISKY DRIVING BY MATES cont.
When asked whether or not they would get in a car with somebody who is inebriated urban
respondents more likely to say ‘what the hell’ and get in the car… hassle of organising taxi or
walking home outweighs perceived risk
Supported by depth of friendship such that whatever their state they’d be safe
“Sometimes they might drive a bit wild but you know they’re safe if the driver was fucked on drugs, if
they was intoxicated in anyway, if I knew they was able to drive if they were calm and had their
composure then I wouldn’t mind.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“Yeah I know they are not going to mess me about.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
Significant numbers more likely to get in car if person has been smoking cannabis than drinking
Minority 15 – 16 year olds have experience of driving with people on Class A drugs; view is it makes the
driver think they’re invincible and drive very fast. Passenger not scared, possibly because they have been
in a similar state
Some anecdotal evidence amongst some rural respondents re taking a calculated risk
“I would think about how much they had had to drink and then decide.” [12 – 14 girl]
Younger respondents more likely to ask a driver to slow down than 15 – 16 year olds; evidence of
latter being driven at very high speed in circumstances that are hugely risky and not doing anything about it –
live for the moment, it’s fun and thrilling
One respondent was being driven by a 17 year old girl through Bermondsey at speeds of up to 120 mph
and the car crashed. When asked why he didn’t say anything to the driver, respondent answered
“Oh, you know, whatever… it’s a laugh at the time.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
68
6. LEARNING TO DRIVE
Where sourcing information
Across all sample, information elicited from parents, typically father, and extended family – cousins, uncles
Surprisingly little information from immediate peers… all in the same boat, not that knowledgeable
A few talk of Top Gear as something which gives them insights into driving
Role Models
Differences noted across sample in terms of who they give credence to when it comes to advice about
driving
Some disadvantaged males and some ethnic males talk of respecting drivers who take risks, can
do stunts and tricks, have a gung ho attitude behind the wheel
* Respondents talk of their being a difference between good driving and legal driving eg what they
perceive as good drivers know how to use a clutch, can drift, do hand break turns, are confident enough
to do things like drive with their feet whilst rolling a joint
“My dad’s friend does mad stuff like reverse with no hands and he does crazy 180 degree turns when
you’re not expecting it.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
BC1 male respondents sometimes echo above, albeit a little more muted
“My cousin is a driving instructor but he drives like a psycho, and my dad is a good driver but he drives
proper quick.” [15 – 16 boy]
Female role models are almost always uniformly careful, safe, but don’t drive too slowly
“My brother has only been driving for a year, he’s a bit of a Gary boy, he’s got a MG, but he always wears
a seatbelt, he won’t drink and drive and he’s very careful.” [15 – 16 girl]
Occasional talk of parents as reverse role models, people you definitely don’t want to emulate
69
6. LEARNING TO DRIVE cont.
Personal Experience
Significant number, perhaps the majority of 12 – 16 year olds, have had some experience of driving
a car
“Yeah I’m good enough I wouldn’t get excited about it but then I can drive a car, definitely.” [15 – 16
boy, disadvantaged]
* BC1 experience tends to be limited to farms, airfields, other private land
* Disadvantaged and Afro-Caribbean experience sometimes involves driving on the road eg around local
estate
* Evidence of some Afro-Caribbeans driving in Jamaica when they go to see family… standard of driving in
Jamaica perceived as more lax than the UK, boys encouraged to floor the pedal when they drive
between towns etc
“In Jamaica my dad or his friend would let me drive all the way into town… or I would drive them
down to the beach.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
* Increasing number of automatic cars means it’s easier for people to get behind a wheel and drive with
minimal instruction… noted by several 14 + year olds
“I drove an automatic on the beach, I’ve tried to drive a car with gears but I didn’t know how to do
it.” [12 – 14 boy]
“I drove around our estate with some mates in an automatic, I didn’t have lessons, the boy sitting
next to me said ‘put it in drive and put your foot on the pedal, it was that easy.’” [15 – 16 boy,
ethnic]
* When driving for the first few times respondents are either accompanied by an adult, typically family, or
– in the case of some disadvantaged – by an older mate
70
6. LEARNING TO DRIVE cont.
* 1 or 2 16 year olds have had official lessons
* 1 16 year old has had lesson with army cadets
Plan
The majority of respondents across sample talk of getting lessons from a parent or close family member
then getting official lessons to top up
1 or 2 only getting lessons, no parental input… mix of either parents don’t drive or don’t get on with them
1 or 2 plan to do crash course, perception that more time and cost efficient
“I’m going to do that crash course, that 2 week crash course, because I know people who’ve been doing
their lessons for months and they still haven’t had their test.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
What kind of drivers respondents imagine themselves as
Marked differences between certain disadvantaged and ethnic elements versus females versus some BC1
males
Some disadvantaged and ethnic make no bones about the fact that they will be reckless, risk
taking drivers… even allowing for bravado and group hot housing, it doesn’t feel like they aspire to being
safe and worthy when they get behind a wheel of their car. View driving as self expression rather than
means to an end
“I’m going to rag it, I’ll crash a few times.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“I’ll be a mad driver, I’ll be like a 2 Fast 2 Furious driver.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
“I’ll be reckless, I won’t stop for anyone.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
71
6. LEARNING TO DRIVE cont.
Versus those that admit they would initially be tentative but wouldn’t let their mates know
“It’ll be about 2 weeks or something before I start letting people in, I’d say my girlfriend would be let in
and then one of them ones after a week or two when I feel proper confident then I’ll start bringing in
the boys, on a Friday night when nobody has a car to go out in it’ll be like ‘come on just get in man.’”
[15 – 16 boy]
Females much more likely to think of the consequences of their actions in this context, several
claim they couldn’t live with themselves if they did something stupid behind the wheel of the car and hurt
somebody. Significant numbers claim they will be safe drivers
BC1 males operate somewhere between the two, claiming that they will be safe, within reason but on
empty roads or where there’s opportunity, they will floor the pedal
“I’ll stick to some speed limits, but if there’s an empty road, I’ll go fast, but in my area where I live, I’ll
only go 30 – 40 mph.” [12 – 14 boy]
Majority, but not all, believe that they will still have things to learn about driving after they have
passed their tests
* For urban sample especially, driving on motorways
* Rural sample feel they will be fairly tentative in a busy urban setting
“Obviously you learn new things every day when you’re in you’re car.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
* Limited spontaneous enthusiasm for advanced driving…
“Nah, there’d be no point, if I got my license I think I’d be ready.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“My dad told me it’s just ordinary experience over the years, you just get more confident.” [15 – 16
boy, disadvantaged]
* ...may consider at time of test if it is free
72
SECTION B: CURRENT CAMPAIGNS
73
1. CURRENT COMMUNICATIONS:
WHAT’S CUTTING THROUGH
Cut through driven by two distinct factors
Single-minded rather than complex proposition… respondents can’t be bothered to decode or deconstruct
advertising in this sector, so simplicity of ‘Camera Phone’ print for example, with its straight forward
warning re listening to music when crossing the road registers far more readily than detailed cycling/skull
executions
Scary/shock factor works harder than cute, even for significant numbers of children
Across sample 8 +, two executions consistently percolating through
‘Kill Your Speed’/30 – 40; cut through rooted in
* New news encapsulated in a very memorable/symmetrical statistic
“There’s the one with the little girl who gets hit; ‘if you hit me at 80…’ The one where she’s against
the tree? …yeah, that’s it, yeah…it’s all coming back to me now, yeah. ‘If you hit me at 30 I’d
have been more likely to live.’ [10 – 11 parent, disadvantaged]
* Dramatic imagery
* Age of protagonist [relevant for children]
“My 7 year old remembers that, he used to cry when it came on.” [ 7 – 9 parent]
* Supports sense that some have that road safety is as much to do with drivers as themselves
“It’s not just about people running in the road because most people don’t do that any more…it’s
actually the drivers…there’s the one with the little girl, where ‘if you were driving 10 miles slower
then I’d probably have survived’ and you see her being dragged across the tree and all the blood.
I think that one affects me the most because it’s not like she’s crossed the road; it’s like actual
drivers because I swear, sometimes I run across the road and they do actually speed up!” [15 –
16 boy, disadvantaged]
74
1. CURRENT COMMUNICATIONS:
WHAT’S CUTTING THROUGH cont.
* Evidence that execution is affecting behaviour as well as attitudes – a number of parents claim to have
modified their speed in roads where cars are double-parked, for example
“I suppose I thought 40 mph is safe in a 30 mph area but I found myself consciously slowing down
around where we live because that 30 mph, 80% chance of living and 40 mph, 80% likely to die
has really struck me.” [10 – 11 parent]
‘Camera Phone’
* Has the tang of authenticity, feels real and uncontrived; inspires debate as to whether or not it’s real
* Older children and teenagers empathise with scenario and behaviour
“That’s the only one my son commented on, he related it to his older sister and how she’s always
messing around on the road.” [7 – 9 parent]
* Shock of protagonist being run over and consequent harrowing screams really make execution stand
apart
‘Hedgehogs’ recalled by majority of sample
Focus is on cute hedgehogs, sing-a-long aspect, humour, rather than any specific communication
4 –6 year olds spontaneously burst into song at the mention of hedgehogs – sometimes know the words,
but without comprehending their meaning [7 – 9, even 10 – 11s similar]
Where communication is recalled tends to be either generic be careful by the road or parroting end line
Among teenagers recall of recent drink driving ad where woman is thrown across pub
Shock factor/surprise facilitating cut through
Some parents in rural locations claim their 7 – 9 year olds have expressed concern about them driving
home from the pub in the wake of this advert
75
1. CURRENT COMMUNICATIONS:
WHAT’S CUTTING THROUGH cont.
Some recall of print executions, most commonly ‘Camera Phone’ and ‘Kill Your Speed’, though respondents not
linking ‘Camera Phone’ print back to its TV manifestation
Residual recall of other executions
Seat belt ad where child kills mum – recall enhanced by ironic, memorable end line which posits that like
most people, she knew her killer
Seat belt ad with pizza recalled for its metaphorical gore
Motorbike safety execution[s] hazily recalled, specific detail is patchy though some remember execution
counselling caution on part of car drivers
76
2. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV
77
2.1 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: TEMPERATURE OF RESPONSE
Target plus significant number of older are warm about ‘Hedgehogs’
“You can watch it over and over again. It’s funny and it’s cute and I love animals.” [ 7 – 9 girl]
Automatically burst into song at their mention – interactive
Plays off young childrens’ love of animals [though their relevance to road safety is questionable]
Tonality of the executions perceived as warm, friendly, draws viewer in
The most negative response tends to come from parents; for example parents of 4 –6 year olds view
communication as overly complex, but in a construct that anyone over the age of 7 or 8 will find babyish
78
2.2 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: POSITIVES
Entertaining and engaging, encourages interaction [but with entertainment rather than message]
“Yeah and they’re catchy as well so it attracts the kids to it and anything you can sing along to does attract
the youngsters.” [10 –11 parent, disadvantaged]
Difficult not to dance/sing-a-long to, rhythm carries/propels respondents through the execution
Certain words and phrases continually seem to snag attention
* ‘You’ve got to be wise’ … ‘wear something bright’
Tone is warm and upbeat
Often know the words [but doesn’t necessarily translate that they are absorbing the meaning]
Specific detail appeals
Change of animals between executions actively anticipated
Notion of older teaching younger resonates, feels like older brother or parent teaching cute youngster
Hedgehog’s face on the roundabout – looks naughty
79
2.3 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: ISSUES
Executions not clearly conveying road safety message
A sense that respondents are parroting the end line rather than exhibiting understanding of road safety as
it’s talked about within the narrative
Entertainment overshadowing communication
A strong sense that emphasis is on fun rather than inherent message, that children are too busy dancing to
and interacting with the music to discern communication
“The ones that we just watched shocked me and I can still feel the shock of them. But them ‘Hedgehogs’
ones you know it and you just sing along. You wouldn’t really listen to what it’s actually saying. That
just seemed like everyone was happy. I don’t think it gives the message.” [10 – 11 girl]
“That’s just like a joke. People are laughing at it and singing along to it.” [10 – 11 boy]
“All they really do is to pay attention to the music and that tune but they probably wouldn’t be able to tell
you…” [10 – 11 parent]
“Yeah, if you turned that off and you said ‘what was that about?’ …what message was it giving you?’, do
you reckon your youngest would know?” [10 – 11 parent]
“I don’t know. I just like the music and looking at the little animals, I don’t know whether I took much
notice of the road…” [10 –11 parent]
“They all know the music but they don’t concentrate on what they’re being told.” [10 – 11 parent]
Strong sense that executions are convoluted in terms of what they communicate
Lack straight forward, single-minded message
Parents query emphasis on going to the park in executions, belief is they need to be more focussed on
immediate pre and immediate post- school activity
“The park is just once or twice a week.” [4 –6 parent, ethnic]
80
2.3 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: ISSUES
Disparity between what is heard on soundtrack and what is seen in strapline at the end
Significant numbers of parents pick up on ‘stop, think, and go,’ are bemused – what’s happened to ‘look
and listen’… respondents become rational, assert that ‘stop, think, and go’ is a recipe for accidents to
happen, is not an exhortation to exhibit road sense
“Stop, think and go? It should be stop, think, and look… It will be stop, think and splat if they’re not
careful.” [ 7 – 9 parent]
“I don’t think much of stop, think and go, that’s not a definite drill when you get to the roadside.”
Some parents claim to miss exhortation to look left and right … for youngest, perception is message has to be
spoon-fed and literal
For significant numbers of 8 and up a sense of ‘Hedgehogs’ as a device, and as manifest in executions, are too
young and cute, lack realism believed necessary to properly impart road safety messages
Animals are cute rather than empathetic, questions about their appropriateness as spokespersons
Depicted scenario and characters too happy for potentially life-threatening situation; some think executions
lack a necessary shock factor that can engender acceptance of road safety messages
“I’m not sure if children will empathise with Hedgehogs, now if it was someone from Star Wars or Tracey
Beaker they would, they won’t put themselves into Hedgehogs’ shoes.”
“It’s animals driving the car, that’s ridiculous, it might be fun but they just don’t see themselves in that
situation.” [4 –6 parent]
“They’re growing up in the real world, they’re not growing up in Cartoonland. It’s not all about a hammer
and an anvil and you get a big bong on your head. The consequences are permanent. They get
injured, they die, it’s not Tom & Jerry land. It’s real.” [10 – 11 parent, disadvantaged]
“It’s not serious enough, there’s no sense of danger, there’s no real people, it’s too animated, too happy,
too unreal.” [7 – 9 parent, disadvantaged]
81
2.3 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: ISSUES
In an era where animation is increasingly sophisticated, a sense that ‘Hedgehogs’ look quaint verging on
antiquated, underscored by utilisation of what sounds like a very old song
“Kids these days are more used to high tech stuff. You should see the quality of space ships on Lego Star
Wars. That’s what they’re used to. This just looks really dated and out of fashion.” [4 – 6 parent]
Relevance of ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ execution questioned by urban sample
Often forget execution within minutes of seeing it, fluorescent clothing not an issue in cities as far as
sample concerned
Relevance of urban environment sometimes questioned by rural sample, emphasis on pavements and
zebra crossings excludes them
82
2.4 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: TARGET
Sense prevails across sample that to understand ‘Hedgehogs’ you need to be 8 + but that the entire
construct implies under 8 as primary target, basic animation cues very young, too young to handle anything
remotely realistic
8 – 10 year olds are just beginning to flex their independence, starting to go out without an adult in certain
circumstances, chaperoned hedgehog implies under 8
“Those adverts are too young, they’re just stupid, hedgehogs don’t sing.” [7 – 9 boy]
“Those adverts are for people who have just started going to school, they’re not realistic.” [10 – 11 boy,
ethnic]
“That’s for people who are below 8, it’s teaching little ones what to do at night and all that.” [7 – 9 boy,
ethnic]
“I like it, but it’s for little kids.” [10 – 11 girl]
Most 10 – 11 year olds do not feel targeted by the combination of vehicle and message
“That’s not for us, we’re nearly teenagers.” [10 – 11 boy]
Where older respondents claim to enjoy ‘Hedgehogs’ it is as entertainment that seems to be part of an ongoing
retro trend where appropriating babyish or very childish iconography is in vogue…insulted if they realise that
they are the intended target
Reactions to ‘Hedgehogs’ begins to suggest that key age for DFT isn’t necessarily 10 – 11 but 8 – 11
83
2.4 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV: TARGET cont.
Parents of 10 – 11 equally surprised that their children are intended target; parents of 7 – 9 often perceive
hedgehogs as inappropriate, too immature etc
“They’d probably say for god sake’s mum, that’s for babies. They get to that point where they want to be seen
to be a little bit more grown-up and you have to treat them with a little bit more freedom. They’re all
pushing their boundaries at this age, their hormones are beginning to kick in, and I think they’re
experimenting with who they can push and how far. I think you have to treat them with a little bit of
respect.” [10 – 11 parent]
“I don’t think it’s enough impact for 10 – 11 year olds, it is babyish. My son could watch stuff like that but he
wouldn’t take anything out of it.” [7 – 9 parent]
84
2.5 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV:
COMPREHENSION & COMMUNICATION
As already noted, significant comprehension issues
Under 10s particularly remember the words but either don’t understand them in the case of
youngest or don’t imbue them with meaning in the case of older, not eliciting much beyond ‘Stop,
Look, Listen and Live’
A sense that communication requires active consumption, via reading the strapline at the end of the
execution, and that communication is not clearly integrated within the narrative
Often miss ‘roads you know’ being focus of the communication, merely parrot strapline back at you when
asked what executions are conveying, or underlying generic ‘be careful by roads/don’t walk straight across
them without looking’… the narrative is not conveying a clear message for the vast majority of children
under 10
“If you don’t know the road, you need to concentrate. But if you know the road, like it’s next to your
house, you can pay less concentration.” [10 – 11 boy, ethnic]
Some evidence that year 7 comprehending more in executions
“If you’re really sure of the area and you know it really well you still have to check even if you’re really
comfortable there. It’s like saying you don’t know what’s going to happen, that you know your
neighbourhood or you think you know it and you think that oh, there isn’t any cars on this road there
could be one that day. Just be careful.” [10 – 11 girl]
Strong sense of music/entertainment rather than message being conveyed
Some find wording hard to discern – squeaky voices, language like ‘neighbourhood’ not part of children’s
vocabulary etc
Attempting to integrate brand via Stop, Look, Think sign off unsettles and interrupts
communication
85
2.5 ‘HEDGEHOGS’ TV:
COMPREHENSION & COMMUNICATION cont.
‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ more successful in terms of comprehension, even if there are issues over its relevance
Significant numbers of children discern communication about wearing bright clothing/accessories at night
Communication may be clear but a sense among parents and children from 8 up that the context trivializes
the issue and aligns wearing reflective clothing with babyish behaviour
Significant minority of parents still think execution’s lack of seriousness, emphasis on song, long-winded
narrative, can mitigate against youngest children taking out a coherent message
86
3. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ POSTERS
Significant number across sample recall seeing at primary school
Clearly part of campaign
Some executions perceived as offering very pertinent or clear messages
‘Warning, don’t cross if you can’t see what’s coming’ addresses major parental fear about crossing in front
of/behind buses
‘Be Bright Morning and Night’ clear, even to 4 – 5 year olds [though have to read execution to them]
“You have to wear something bright at night because cars might run you over.” [4 – 6 boy]
Some comprehension issues
Under 8s find some wording hard to read; 4 – 5 year olds generally not reading anything beyond Stop,
Look, Listen [recognising rather than reading the words]
4 – 8 year olds not quick to comprehend why they should watch out even on roads they know
At least 1 execution perplexes significant numbers – ‘Stop and Think At A Crossing Too’ feels like a part 2 in
a series of 2 adverts… sample get rational and ask where else they should stop and think
* Younger confused by graphics, look like music and speakers rather than traffic lights
Lollipop execution perceived as sacrificing message at altar of entertainment – parents of the opinion you
only see one lollipop lady, a 5 or 6 year old likely to be confused… supported by views of younger in our
sample
1 or 2, even older, remain perplexed by the ‘warning, don’t cross if you can’t see what’s coming’ execution,
to point where their take out is don’t ever cross the road unless you have a completely unhindered view
both ways… get very rational as per quote below
“I think it’s saying don’t cross if you can’t see what’s coming, even if a car’s not coming, still don’t cross,
just don’t cross the road.” [10 – 11 boy]
87
3. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ POSTERS cont.
Proclamation to Stop, Look, Listen felt to be steps towards being safe on the road… exaltation to live is not
a step in that sense, some parents think sacrificing important road safety message for the want of catchy
strap line
Youngest clearly find typography [and spacing] hard to read, where their reading skills are up to
comprehending the message
88
4. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ SUPPORTING MATERIALS
Postcard/stickers salient across relevant age groups, recall getting at school, putting on school bag etc
“Yeah, yeah, I had one on my old jacket; because they gave us these stickers, reflector stickers at school.” [7
– 9 boy, ethnic]
“Yeah, one and all you had to do is stick them on and then when you cross the road you can see – it’s to do
with cars seeing you on the road.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
Very popular, all love stickers …
… work very well in the instant – simple but effective device
Interactive, encourage engagement with road safety materials and idea of ‘Hedgehogs’
Often prompt to recall broader campaign
“Yeah, you get these sticker things, they were on TV, you know those hedgehog things for TV.” [7 – 9 boy,
ethnic]
However on prompting can query role and point of text on reverse… perceived as far too dense and copy heavy,
incorporates words which they can’t read such as ‘fluorescent’
Potential exists to reproduce idea as working postcard eg once stickers removed can be used as postcard
Potential to optimise message delivery -- remove sticker to reveal basic piece of communication
Sticker/leaflet less salient across sample, few recall receiving; less immediate enthusiasm on prompting
Not stickers in truest sense, too copy heavy, difficult to read… unlikely to really engage
89
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE
Overview
None of the literature really encourages independent, solus reading on the part of children; requires being
taken through by an adult
‘Get Across Road Safety: An Essential Guide For Parents With Children 0 – 6’
Temperature of Response
* Lukewarm among parents
* Mixed reception among opinion formers, one thinks it does what it’s supposed to do which is impart
basic road safety information
Positives
* ‘Did You Know’ facts and figures stand out and draw attention, provide rationale for why road safety is
important
* If can be bothered to read, imparts sensible information, though some parents miss the conciseness of
a Green Cross Code
Negatives
* For some too busy and cluttered, preference would be for more bite-sized and clearer demarcation;
short bullet points = the optimum
* Not inspiring to consume, looks like hard work
* Written for adults but designed for children, with the occasional patronising detail eg is it safe for Little
Chick to cross the road, you should cross the road on the green man; some discern confusion in copy,
uncertainty re intended audience, flits between addressing parent and child without any warning
90
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE cont.
* Parents not sure if it is something for themselves to read alone or with their children [if it is to read with
their children, far too copy heavy, if it’s to read by themselves graphics verge on patronising – whether
you were born and bred in the UK or have just arrived]
* Images don’t really tell a visual story – if to be read with children, optimum is for visual imagery that
does the hard work of imparting information; similarly visual imagery important for recent immigrants
not familiar with UK roads
* Not integrated into ‘Hedgehogs’ brand property beyond token back page presence
“What’s all this business with the chicks? I thought it was hedgehogs.” [4 – 6 parent, ethnic]
Towards Optimisation
* Be clear who intended target is
* Clarify whether this is for parents alone or parents with their children
* Tell story visually as well as in words
* Streamline copy, utilise bullet points
* More pages better than cramped pages
* Avoid seemingly random protagonists
91
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE cont.
‘Road Safety Activity Book 1: For Children in the Age Zone 4 – 7’
Temperature of Response
* Lukewarm to warm
Positives
* Acceptable as something which children do in conjunction with an adult
* Encourages interaction/engagement with aspects of road safety eg requirement to wear reflective
clothing late at night
Negatives
* Not something the majority of children are willing to countenance doing on their own, without
prompting
* Again doesn’t integrate ‘Hedgehogs’ that much – their presence is less noticeable than the chicks [or
tennis balls with beaks as one 7 year old called them]
* Children and adults perceive chick animation style as resolutely old-fashioned
* When compared to likes of ‘Frances The Firefly’ feels very busy
* Ethnic parents sometimes comment on lack of ethnic representation in depicted characters
* Lack of incentive to engage with book, beyond adult direction
* Significant number of parents think 4 – 5 year olds will find this hard to engage with – too advanced,
detailed for them
“My three and a half year old had this, she just coloured over a few pages, it’s like a syllabus.” [4 –
6 parent, ethnic]
“This is way too much for a 4 – 6 year old, there’s far too much going on for them, even if I’m
holding their hand.” [4 – 6 parent, ethnic]
92
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE cont.
* Overall, parental view errs to a bit dull and worthy, involves nothing creative, no role play to engage;
this sense heightened when you look at other educative/information tools that are competing for their
children’s attention
Towards Optimisation
* It may be worth investigating more modern animation/graphic style …
* …which may make it feel less overtly like a school exercise text
* Evidence that children respond to safety messages when they are wrapped up in an engaging narrative
eg ‘Frances The Firefly’, may be worth investigating in the context of road safety
* Some form of reward system for when task completed worth investigating eg stickers
− See Footsteps in appendix
* Opportunity to utilise role play or more creative exercises
‘Get Across The Road Safety: An Essential Guide For Parents With Children 7 – 10’
Temperature of Response
* As per 0 – 6 variant, generally fairly lukewarm
Positives
* Graphically less dense than its 0 – 6 counterpart, more bullet points, more bite-size
* Animation a bit brighter, more contemporary
* Less confusion re intended target, for parents to talk about/through with their children
* Some of the exercises are fun or sensible eg identifying road signs, picking out what’s wrong with cycle
* Integrates ‘Hedgehog’ brand icon more effectively than 0 – 6 counterpart
93
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE cont.
Negatives
* Perceived problems with language, as per 0 – 6 intended target, sometimes flits between adult and
child
− eg using crossings section says ‘Teach Your Child Important Points Like: [which is clearly aimed at
the parents to instruct their child] ‘always wait at the kerb facing a crossing so that drivers know
they want to cross’ [should be you want to cross]
− eg or in same section, in the ‘Remind Your Child To Stay Alert’ point, the ‘Remind Your Child’
element is confusing and gratuitous…these should be direct instructions for parents to lift and
proffer to their children
* Road crossing exercise perceived as confusing…though that may be the intention. Respondents unsure
whether they would recommend their children crossing pedestrian crossings on the wider roads or
crossing on the narrower roads where there are no pedestrian crossings; 1 or 2 parents tie themselves
in knots trying to work out optimum route
Towards Optimisation
* Problems with language need resolving – maintain a clear point-of-view
* Route planning exercise might benefit from a little more clarity
* Could still be more bite-size, utilise visual imagery to tell the story more
94
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE cont.
‘Road Safety Activity Book 2: Ages 7 – 10’
Temperature of Response
* Lukewarm in isolation, a bit warmer as a school exercise
Positives
* Perfectly acceptable in school or as homework
“It’s quite fun homework, for homework, but I wouldn’t look at it otherwise.” [10 – 11 boy]
* Certain detail catches the eye of respondents eg working out the safest route from your home to school,
cycling exercise, faulty bike exercise
* ‘Hedgehogs’ a little more acceptable in this context, not as resolutely childish
Negatives
* Respondents adamant that they would only pick this up if prompted by a teacher or if very bored and
nothing else to do… evidence that some sample given the book to read at home on their own volition
and never picked it up
“I would pick it up only if I’ve got nothing to do but normally I play on my computer in the week.”
[10 – 11 boy]
* Some have an issue with the route planning exercises – they believe implication is pedestrian crossings
are always the safest/best way to cross a road
* Some 10 year olds feel vaguely patronised by content, claim to already know a lot of the detail
* Feels resolutely old-fashioned… parents claim it wouldn’t have looked out of date when they were at
school, has few signifiers that cue 2007
* No motivation to engage with book unless adult oversees
95
5. ‘HEDGEHOGS’ LITERATURE cont.
Towards Optimisation
* Again worth investigating contextualising some of these messages in a narrative construct which is
engaging at the level of a story and interesting to look at like ‘Frances The Firefly’
* More sophisticated and contemporary graphic approach may increase appeal of the book
* Like its Book 1 counterpart would benefit from having some kind of reward system eg stickers at the
back for when tasks completed
− Again, see Footsteps in appendix
96
6. HEDGEHOGS & CYCLING
Limited enthusiasm for online idea, suffers from similar issues to other ‘Hedgehogs’ material
Significant number struggle at literal level of utilising hedgehogs for cycling - overplaying anthropomorphism
Struggles in terms of appealing to intended target – works best for under 8s
Notion of safety gear for cycling aligned beginners who need safety equipment because they are not fully in
control of their bikes
However the idea of gaming appeals (see ‘Towards Optimisation’ section)
Some concern directed at the disparity between the animation style [young] and ability to fully interact with site
eg amount of text and literacy levels of 6 – 7 year olds
97
7. ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV
98
7.1 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: TEMPERATURE OF RESPONSE
Warm to hot
As earlier, spontaneously referenced as key road safety advert
Appeal extends beyond teenagers to a significant number of 8 – 9 year olds at one end and parents at the
other
Should be remembered that the context for 8 – 9 year olds is different these days – virtually all have
access to horror films which are restricted to 15/18 in the cinema and sophisticated, adult computer games
Unlike ‘Hedgehogs’ communication is clear and single-minded
99
7.2 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: POSITIVES
Empathy elicited by scenario
Feels very real, or at the very least has the appearance of reality
* Style of execution – phone footage
* Teenage respondents see themselves, true to how they interact with each other [reinforced by
parents of teens]
“That’s exactly how they are, once they get together with their friends, all common sense goes out
the window. One second she’s pretty in pink and the next…” [15 – 16 parent]
* It’s what teenagers do, walking out onto the road without looking, feels like this does/can happen
regularly
“I’ve seen mine do that, that really rings true.” [10 – 11 parent]
“It’s so true, you do do that, bumbling along, it’s exactly how you do it. It could so easily happen.”
[15 – 16 boy]
“It’s true because I’ve actually seen stuff like this happen. I saw the remains of a woman splattered
across the road. I saw part of her liver or something on the floor.” [15 – 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“Yeah because I walk around with my friends after school and we always act like that.” [12 – 14 boy,
ethnic]
* Parents discern protagonists like their children
− Personality of pack overtakes sense of individual
“And even when they’re coming out of school they’re in groups and stuff, they’re different
characters, they lose themselves. You can’t say how they are when they’re with their mates.” [10
– 11 parent, disadvantaged]
100
7.2 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: POSITIVES cont.
In some ways it’s less the shock of the running over and more the ensuing screaming that cuts through –
respondents affected by piercing screams in wake of the horror of what’s just happened to a good friend –
there’s something in the timbre of the screams that feels authentically harrowing
“The reactions when it’s happened are really harrowing. You really feel for them when they scream like that.”
[15 – 16 boy]
Having said that, the abrupt switch from fun to abject horror adds to the impact
“I’d never really seen anything that realistic before. It looked like it couldn’t be fake because it was done
on a phone.” [12 –14 boy, ethnic]
The shock and horror of the accident does elicit a physical reaction in respondents, 8 and 9 year olds who
are exposed to it sometimes flinch but are rarely repulsed…merely that a message has been strongly
hammered home utilising shock as a vehicle [view of parents as well]
Lots of debate engendered re how much is faked, how much is not…this note of ambiguity is one of the
reasons the execution resonates so much
Strong, clear, linear narrative
10 – 11 year olds perceive as far more effective than ‘Hedgehogs’ – not only is it clearer and more real
but there is no sense of being lectured or hectored by a message
“’Hedgehogs’ tells you, ‘Camera Phone’ shows you.” [10 – 11 boy, disadvantaged]
Ethnic mix of teens particularly noted by ethnic parents more than teens themselves
101
7.3 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: ISSUES
For some parents who are forced to nitpick there is a sense that consequences could be addressed a little
more eg broken bones or effect on family… but we had to really push for this negative
1 or 2 issues for the very youngest who are exposed to execution [versus a targeting issue – see later]
Very small number think that behaviour of protagonist is stupid, not something that they would do
Very small number flinch and back off from shock and horror in execution – couple of 7 year olds
Minority of oldest teenagers claim that phone technology these days would facilitate a less blurred image …
‘Camera Phone’ already beginning to look a bit out of date
102
7.4 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: TARGET
Core target is perceived as secondary school
However, sample respondents as young as 8 find advertising approach and content pertinent and
relevant and opt into the communication, even if they don’t perceive themselves as the direct target
As execution stands, this kind of after school pack behaviour is generally associated with secondary schools;
however, if scenario was altered so that primary school children were shown playing near the road and running
into it, and it was shot in the same way with the same shock factor, some would feel targeted… the perception
of the majority of urban 8 – 10 year olds is that ‘Camera Phone’ is far more effective and resonant than
‘Hedgehogs’
In rural areas mobile phone ownership less prevalent among 8 – 10 year olds, or where phones are
possessed they are basic hand-me-downs
There does remain a minority of under-11s who would perceive ‘Camera Phone’ as a little bit too
strong for them if they were directly targeted by it, it’s acceptable to them because there are older teens
in it and they can choose to opt into the communication… perception is they will grow into execution [or the
behaviour depicted in the execution]
Perhaps too strong for 7 year olds to stomach
103
7.5 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: COMPREHENSION & COMMUNICATION
Absolutely no comprehension issues
Communication revolves around
Don’t walk into the road without looking both ways
Don’t be distracted
Concentrate when you’re crossing the road
Don’t cross between parked cars
You can get knocked over on a road that’s not busy
“When you’re in a group with your friends you don’t concentrate, you do stupid stuff, you try and act cool
in front of them…maybe you shouldn’t be scared to tell your friends to stop the horseplay when you’re
by the road.” [15 – 16 boy]
“When you don’t concentrate that’s what happens, when they’re playing the fool they get hurt.” [10 – 11
parent]
“When you are younger it is clever to look both ways, it’s grown up if you know what to do, but when you
are a bit older, looking both ways is a bit geeky, you have to be casual but you should still
concentrate.” [12 – 14 girl]
“Don’t just walk into the road, he didn’t look, or he only looked one way.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
“Don’t cross without looking, don’t walk into the road without looking, pay attention, he should have
looked, he shouldn’t have crossed between parked cars.” [10 – 11 boy, disadvantaged]
Respondents not learning anything radically new via execution, what it’s doing is delivering a familiar
message in such a shocking way that it resonates once more
104
7.6 ‘CAMERA PHONE’ TV: IMPACT
For significant numbers of 8 – 10 year olds and the vast majority of 11 – 13 year olds, there is a strong sense
that execution is very impactful, makes them pause for thought much more than any other road safety
executions
Majority of 14 – 16 year olds are clearly affected when exposed to the execution, again evidence that in the
moment it’s strongly impactful
Overall view is that 8 – 11 year olds are more likely to alter their behaviour as a result of potent and
shocking road safety comms… once teenagers reach 15 – 16, this kind of communication less likely to
affect behaviour, despite the fact that it has been perceived as resonant and powerful
“That’s the best one, it’s actually really realistic, it will get into people’s heads to be careful, to look left and
right.” [10 – 11 boy, ethnic]
For younger respondents ‘Camera Phone’ is such new news and so powerful its effects linger in the mind and
may at some level impact on behaviour
Teenagers live moment to moment, in an episodic rather than linear fashion… what means a lot in one moment
is forgotten or cast aside the next… hence the view of most 15 – 16 year olds is that whilst shocking, ‘Camera
Phone’ ultimately won’t impact on their behaviour when they’re with their mates after school, sauntering home
“We’ve seen that and we still all muck around, maybe it would affect girls more.” [15 – 16 boy]
Parents qualify the above – ‘Camera Phone’ will hit home for 10 minutes, engender a discussion and then
they’ll be back to their old ways
Some parents think that execution will prompt discussion along lines of ‘that wouldn’t happen to me’
“I think they would talk about this, starting off with ‘When I’m going out on the road there, I’ll be very
careful so maybe that will never happen to me because I’ll be looking left and right’…they are always
‘this will never happen to them.’” [12 – 14 parent, ethnic]
Some parents think that their teenagers will be drawn to the execution via a kind of horrified fascination…
almost find it exciting rather than off-putting
105
8. ‘CAMERA PHONE’: POSTERS
Temperature of Response
Warm
Positives
Executions spontaneously recalled by significant number
Strong sense among 10 – 11 year olds that executions are far more powerful, effective and memorable
than their ‘Hedgehog’ counterparts
Manage to convey shock factor of TV counterpart…
…respondents focus on awkward, contorted positions and angles that head and shoulders subjected to…
…stop motion effect creates sensation of impact, almost like a moving image; communicates visually rather
than verbally
“Frame by frame you feel the injuries more, you can see the odd shape his legs are in. I like the
sequence, it’s like a film.” [15 – 16 boy, ethnic]
Approval for sense of narrative in executions
Respondents focus on visceral detail – fascinated more than horrified – serves to reaffirm communication,
in some instances
“The girl is even more horrible, her position is awful, at the end everything’s broken. She’s broken her
neck, really, but it’s not too much. It scares you, if you mess around or don’t pay attention that’ll
happen to you.” [10 – 11 girl]
“Ugh. Look, he’s landed on his head like this, and he’s bleeding.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
“Oh look at her foot, cut up and everything.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
Younger respondents imagine stuff that’s not there eg bones popping out – implies advertising is so
evocative it overhypes their imagination
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8. ‘CAMERA PHONE’: POSTERS cont.
Clearly communicate dangers of distraction by road – mobile phone in one execution, iPod in the other –
equally resonate; parents keen to assert that pertinent to the times, more distractions then in their day
* True to life, behaviour of protagonists mirrors own
“They’re walking down the road playing a game, or they’ve got their headphones in, I didn’t have that.
When we was young the only thing we had to concentrate on was the road. They’ve got their
earphones and their iPods and their mobile phone going. We didn’t have any of those distractions.” [10
–11 parent, disadvantaged]
Uncontrived – protagonists look like average teens
Negatives
1 or 2 10 year olds assert that executions are nasty, a bit too graphic… back off from them
“Nasty. I don’t know if I want to look.” [10 – 11 boy]
No explicit link to the TV execution
1 or 2 parents query language deployed… giving the road ‘their full attention’ redolent of police or teacher…
1 or 2 very youngest [under 10] who are exposed to execution are vaguely annoyed at the lack of attention
protagonist show to oncoming traffic
Towards Optimisation
* …rather than giving the road ‘their full attention’, might be worth investigating appeal of
− ‘wish they’d concentrated’
− ‘not been distracted’
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9. ‘SKULLS’
Temperature of Response
Cool to Lukewarm
Positives
Eye initially drawn by what is perceived as strong visual
Some find amusing, especially waving man
Negatives
Doesn’t clearly convey message visually, too much copy
“You can’t see what they’re about until you read it, they’re boring, there’s not much happening.”
Message backfires – skulls/X rays imply injuries or death, despite cycle helmets… too much effort to
decode, when decoded no great sense of reward
Headlines perplex… ‘we’re not messing around’ or ‘it’s no laughing matter’ don’t mean a great deal in
isolation
Straining to be funny, therefore trivialising serious message
Tonally feel like they are telling you or hectoring you rather than informing you; too instructive for most
Cycle helmets are associated with negative user imagery and lack of cool, executions fail to lend any cool or
kudos to helmets
Towards Optimisation
Ideal is to communicate without reliance on copy, where there is copy it supports and qualifies rather than
explains
Worth investigating a less hectoring tone
Worth investigating an approach which imbues kudos and cool to potential wearers, without straining to be
hip
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10. PREFERENCES RE WHERE FIND SAFETY MESSAGES
Consistency across sample in this area, with 1 or 2 small differences between rural and urban
All agree in situ communication is likely to be noted if it’s interesting
On bus sides
In buses – seat backs, video screens etc
On trains
Immediately outside school
In school in places where children and teenagers like to congregate eg activity rooms, toilets etc
In stores they frequent
* CTNs, fast food outlets, high street cosmetics, toy shops, etc
Media
All expect on TV
* In the 2 hours post school, Saturday morning etc
All think online is a good idea, even 7 year olds … but need to take advantage of medium and do something
bespoke
Radio, especially for rural who are taken to and from school in car – breakfast and drive time
Urban and suburban talk of noticing relevant 48 sheet posters
Rural parents talk of community centres as social hub in villages; makes sense to have presence there
109
SECTION C: TOWARDS OPTIMISATION
110
Optimisation thoughts have been extrapolated from a number of sources
Reactions to competitive reels and preferred advertising
Reactions to existing Think! Executions
Ideas formed independently, outside of reactions to advertising
111
1. ALL AGE GROUPS
112
1.1 ALL AGE GROUPS: CONTENT
Messages need to recognise different contexts – urban and rural, ethnic groups
eg crossing between parked cars for urban, cycling on narrow roads where there’s agricultural traffic or
walking around blind bends for rural
“They seem to forget that not everyone lives in a built up area, next to a busy road. Our house is at the
end of a track but we have our own dangers.” [4 – 6 parent]
Up to 12 or 13, focusing on consequences for family is territory worth investigating… see younger section for
more detail
Interesting to note how under 13s often view ‘Shattered’ negatively, despite its focus on
consequences…younger perception is that its cold, soulless, lacks family mourning/grieving scenes
Statistics impress, convey information and brings things to life in this sector eg 30 mph, 80% live; 40 mph,
80% die
Talking about specific road accidents doesn’t resonate, gets compartmentalised
Taking those road accidents and contextualising them in figures really brings home how all people are at
risk, not just those ones who were involved in a road accident
“I think if you see statistics that tell the whole picture, it makes that accident on the M1 feel more real,
it’s not isolated.” [10 – 11 parent]
Opportunity discerned to have rolling stats online somewhere, depicting increase in child & teenage RSA
Play to their current aspirations
Less like Scott Smith and Sarah Rivers, which sometimes embarrass with their heavy-handedness
More about short-term, immediate aspirations
* For older: being accepted by the group, being part of a strong group, being liked by the opposite sex
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1.1 ALL AGE GROUPS: CONTENT cont.
* For younger: playing games with friends, going to special events with friends, getting their hands on
desirable toys
“If you say to a child, if you run across that road and get run over, you’ll never get to play on that
PSP you so want. The first thing they’ll think about is not playing on the PSP rather than an
accident.” [4 – 6 parent]
The most impactful sector advertising provides ‘whys’ …
… eg ‘Kill Your Speed’ or you’ll kill a child, don’t walk into the road distracted by your mates or you’ll be
killed
‘Hedgehogs’ not perceived as proffering clear, distinct ‘whys’
“For children one of the most basic things you do is provide them with ‘why’ they have to do something,
you have to explain why things are important and teach them consequences.” [4 – 6 parent]
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1.2 ALL AGE GROUPS: STYLE
Simple rather than convoluted communications across proposition and message facilitates stand out and
impact
Danger of being too oblique, not engaging, eg some Frank ads
Where comprehension is issue, respondents often not willing to decode/make an effort to understand [eg
Scott Rivers for under 14s]; road safety not a sector like gaming, where decoding effort and subsequent
reward is part of the fun or an accepted convention
The appearance of reality
Real situations and scenarios
Peer to peer or peer generated, like ‘Camera Phone,’ draws in
Visual Storytelling
Most think the optimum, especially for 4 – 6 year olds (and some older too), is a story or idea that can be
understood purely via visual, whether that’s print, poster or TV
Integrate message through/in narrative rather than rely on endline to convey [eg Sarah Rivers]
Juxtaposition between disparate moods or scenes can draw attention; a twist can work -- though danger of
wear out and comprehension issues
Can be jarring eg Scott Rivers, can be shocking and impactful eg ‘Camera Phone’
Evolving narrative/stories can engage as long as not too convoluted
A number of executions, where narrative evolves, has the capacity to engage viewers across time
Each new ad serves to remind viewers of old executions… extends life of each execution, reinforces old
executions
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1.2 ALL AGE GROUPS: STYLE cont.
SFX can attract the eye or facilitate greater impact
Overlaboured or over obvious CGI creates distance with the viewer
Subtly deployed can put viewer into realistic situations or add to communication eg ‘Kill Your Speed’
Sound very potent but under-utilised in engendering impact and stand out in road safety advertising, eg crunch
& shattering glass noises in drink driving execution is one of the reasons execution feels so violent and hardhitting
Hard-hitting, implying violence without being too gory for younger creates impact, underscores threat
Likes of drink driving executions elicit a physical response
“That one kind of makes me feel funny.” [10 – 11 boy]
Empathetic situations and protagonists show understanding of their milieu
The most readily recalled road safety advertising tends to be that which elicits most empathy – ‘Camera
Phone’, where protagonists behaviour mirrors viewer’s own, and ‘Kill Your Speed’ where the age of the
victim in conjunction with the message strikes a chord
Other executions elicit empathy despite other problems with them. This empathy can outweigh executional
negatives eg some really like ‘Sarah Rivers’ or ‘Scott Smith’ because the emphasis on dreams fits some of
their lives, or ‘Cribs’ is familiar programming that some females love
Can’t be too divorced from their lives eg ‘Sarah Rivers’ more impactful than ‘Scott Smith’ because there’s
more an element of ‘this could be you’ about her behaviour than Scott’s
And can’t strain too hard to catch their attention by being wilfully wacky (adult view of what teenagers
like)… eg Frank ‘Brain’
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1.2 ALL AGE GROUPS: STYLE cont.
Emotional Pull
Interesting to note children and some teen responses to more emotional aspects of advertising run past
them
Far less cynical than their older teenage counterparts, playing to emotional sensibilities lends ideas standout
* eg Dog Fund advertising elicits lots of concerned oohs and aahs…idea of animal pining for dead owner
killed in a road accident, spontaneously brought up by 10 – 11 year old females, perceived as
potentially very sad and melancholic…
* eg Ghost execution resonant because it shows parents grieving for their dead child, and girlfriend for
her boyfriend
117
1.3 ALL AGE GROUPS: OTHER ISSUES
Mediums for message
Might be worth investigating more adventurous media planning, given sample preference for all things
online
Below isn’t definitive, worth extrapolating from sample media preferences and what seems most engaging
and involving at the moment… for example…
Online
* Networking sites and MSN are much more salient than television programming or channels, for many
* Viral communications really hitting home and being passed around the culture eg Mini Cooper for older
* The most effective viral communications are unique to online rather than a TV ad … feel more special,
bespoke, enters their world (so not a TV ad run online)
* Need to be clever and show understanding, work with the medium eg MSN and instant RTA statistics
* Police thinks it’s possible to get safety viral disseminated through the culture
“Maybe they should do a viral message about the number of kids run over when they’re on mobile
phones… actually, I sent an email about syringe needles in car seats in abandoned cars, I put it
out through the police, 6 months later I was still getting enquiries from the press and the public
because everyone thought it important enough to send it around, though it later turned out to be
a mistake. In relation to mobiles, we put it out through the police that in case of emergency you
should put a contract number under ‘emergency’ on your mobile, and that has spread far and wide
online…it’s just little things but they could do the same with safety messages.” [O.F.]
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1.3 ALL AGE GROUPS: OTHER ISSUES cont.
Radio
* Seems to be a resurgence in radio listening
* Rural respondents are big radio listeners, possibly because they spend so much time in car
* Pirate radio is very salient to ethnic respondents in urban areas – the only place they can listen to music
like grime and bashment
* Radio advertising traditionally recessive, a cue to switch over … one of the big problems with radio
advertising is it doesn’t take advantage of the medium; one of the most powerful aspects of the
advertising we ran past respondents was how it utilised sound to underscore hard-hitting shock
* Noted how important the appearance of reality is in road safety advertising… mooted by one that a
potential radio execution might revolve around what seems to be tuning into police or fire service
frequencies, overhearing the aftermath of a road accident
Mobile Phone
* All over 10 into mobile telephony
* Attempts to advertise on mobile phone generally met with hostile response – intrusive, appropriating
their medium
* But definite opportunity to build on ‘Camera Phone’ and user-generated material
View OF & parents is that it’s the job of parents, schools and printed literature/print media to educate
and inform about road safety… implication is that it’s TV’s job to shock and bring home hard-hitting, singleminded messages in a simple but vivid way
In this arena effective advertising does not have to be enjoyable
eg younger children may enjoy singing along but miss the message
eg children may like animals but animals may not be the most appropriate conduit for road safety
communications
119
2. YOUNGER
120
2.1
YOUNGER: CONTENT
Consequences
Children hate seeing their parents upset; more particularly that they have caused their parents hurt
Worth pushing children one step beyond their sense of self to engage with the idea of upsetting the people
who are most close to them [B]
In this context, consequences give respondents a sense of belonging – not only reminds them who they
love but that someone loves them
D. PEERS
C. BEST
FRIENDS
B. IMMEDIATE
LOVED ONES
A. SELF
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2.1 YOUNGER: CONTENT cont.
Club
Parents point out that children love belonging to organisations and reach back into their own memories of
childhood, recalling things like Tufty Club…
… engender a sense of belonging, opportunity to collect things [which children love], opportunities to
reward and inspire [prizes, role model adults]
Club also suggests a spokesperson, something which current ‘Hedgehogs’ activity is felt to lack [see
upcoming other issues]
“Even if it was just a big hedgehog, road safety needs a hero, I mean in my day we learned because
that man came on and said ‘look left, look right, look left again.” [7 – 9 parent]
Green Cross Code
It may exist but isn’t perceived as salient because not leveraged
Parents and some opinion formers think that rules of behaviour on the road need to be leveraged as a
package … that’s what the Green Cross Code used to do, feeling is now it may as well not exist… some not
sure it does …
Some parents still teaching their children what they remember of the code eg emphasis on looking left and
right rather than just stopping and looking
Notion of reinventing with a new spokesperson and look perceived as eminently sensible
* All parents appreciate that the Green Cross Code man is an anachronism but there are plenty of role
models eg sporting heroes, who could stand in for him
* Re 10 – 11 year olds (going up to 12 or 13?): given how important sporting heroes are, and for ethnic
and some others music heroes are becoming, opportunity for a spokesperson who, in real life, may be a
bit of a bad boy (but has a redeeming feature eg loves his kids, always straps them in their booster
seat or seat belt…) …someone who is consistently identified with the message, about whom there is
122
credibility and realness
2.1 YOUNGER: CONTENT cont.
Specifically 10 – 11 year olds
Overall view is that opportunity to use an idea similar to ‘Camera Phone’, albeit possibly toned down, makes
more sense than leveraging childish hedgehogs
Would need to be made more relevant, specific to their lives [teenage issues not always relevant for
children]
“The big issue in their lives is going from being a big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in a big
pond.” [10 – 11 parent]
Parent and Opinion Former view is that similar strategy to teenagers but careful about nuance, perhaps a
bit toned down given the minority who sometimes flinch when exposed to aspects of ‘Camera Phone,’
represents the optimum for this target
NB: That is, 10 – 11 year olds require separate communications to 7 – 9 (and 4 – 6) year olds and
teenagers… you can’t just run teenage comms for 10 – 11 year olds, they have different concerns (though
can buy into teenage comms, despite the fact they don’t feel explicitly targeted by it)
123
2.2 YOUNGER: STYLE
Animation doesn’t convey a serious message unless the animation style is superreal [think Pixar or the
latest computer games rather than ‘Hedgehogs’]
Animation perceived as a place where fantastic things can happen, a world of fantasy where physical injury
heals itself immediately, etc
Real people in empathetic situations deemed much more effective for conveying road safety
messages
Logo
Some kind of snappy, striking, young without straining to be youthful, colourful, sub brand within Think!
might pay dividends… children very brand literate, idea of a logo plays to this … could work hard in
conjunction with a club
Tone
Bright, loud, clear… perhaps not so soft and cuddly as ‘Hedgehogs’
Role Playing
Children love seeing other children in unusual roles, especially adult, where their precociousness really
appeals eg children assuming role of adults, telling adults what to do [potential implications re parental
communication… child spokesperson for parental communication, à la Frank inquisitive kid, Harebos Kid,
Kleenex tissues baby in boardroom, Orange boy telling adults how to use phone, etc]
124
2.3 YOUNGER: OTHER ISSUES
Computer Games
Significant numbers of younger respondents see big opportunity in leveraging road safety information
within computer game context, research on this project indicates sample are gaming by the age of 4, hand
held devices such as Nintendo DS and PSP are common from the age of 6
* Need to take cues from games they enjoy…
* …comparable graphics
* Competitive (if truly competitive, pulls into older arena)
* Maybe invert the most popular games like Vice City on their head so that instead of hitting people you
have to avoid them, or as a pedestrian you have to avoid cars
“It’s like cars coming past, just missing you.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
“An A button to look left, a D button to look right, a look both ways button…” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
“You have to miss people and if you hit one you lose points.” [7 – 9 boy, ethnic]
* Some parents think there’s an opportunity to recontextualise G.C.C. in the form of some kind of
computer game, where protagonists have a back story which influences their behaviour…introduces
element of interactivity into staid, dry territory
125
3. OLDER
126
3.1 OLDER: CONTENT
Consequences
Teenagers think that showing consequences on personal well-being could potentially alter behaviour, really
bring home the damage they would do to themselves by being distracted on the road etc … is one of the
few things that can cut through their moment by moment existence
* Parents and some teenagers get very literal – e.g. showing somebody (a real person?) limbless in a
bleak hospital ward, but always agree that it’s potentially highly effective
“Consequences that are unpleasant, so not just in a cosy wheelchair but, I don’t know, incontinent.”
[12 – 14 parent, ethnic/disadvantaged]
D.) IMMEDIATE
FAMILY
C.) PEERS
B.) BEST
FRIENDS
A.) SELF
127
3.1 OLDER: CONTENT cont.
* Avoid fantasy or that which is contestable eg ‘Ghost’ execution in competitive reel snags attention,
shows consequences of distraction and not looking, and works in that context, but provides grounds for
dismissal insofar as no one has proved whether souls or ghosts exist
* One opinion former asserts that the most effective campaign they’ve seen against teenagers depicts the
effects of drink-driving…post accident, protagonist is left severely disabled [see appendix: ‘How hard
can it be to say no to a drink’… maybe overstates consequences but gives you an idea]
* One RSO claims that their cycle helmet campaign showing consequences of not wearing a helmet has
been effective because it is so graphic [see appendix]
* However it’s essential that there’s a point of empathy within the execution prior to
consequences being revealed, otherwise they can be dismissed on grounds of ‘but that wouldn’t
happen to me’
Teenagers highly self-conscious, desire to fit in with friends & peers (see circles B & C…) is marked, judge
people by appearances (hence their being appalled at idea of being maimed or left crippled)
Peer acceptance and demonstrations of, are engaging [reactions to condom ads confirm]
* Ethnic male respondents particularly vocal about losing or gaining respect among peers, really relate to
condom advertising which is rooted in garnering the respect of your mates by behaving ‘properly’
(having the nous to do the right thing)
“He’s losing street cred because he didn’t use it…as teenagers they are really into respect.” [12 – 14
parent]
“It’s realistic because obviously if you’re with a girl your friends are going to ask you what happened
and if you do it without a condom then your mates are just gonna think you’re a prat.” [15 – 16
boy, disadvantaged]
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3.1 OLDER: CONTENT cont.
Friends and peers more important as judges than immediate family
Graphic
Graphic content can work very effectively against teenagers
“It’s the reality of what’s going to happen – show them getting their head smashed on the windscreen –
show what’s going to happen to them – if people think ‘oh, if I get hit by a car I’ll just bounce off onto
the pavement and walk away,’ if you see your head get bounced off a windscreen you’re not going to
walk in front of a car then, you’re not going to want your face caved in off a windscreen, are you?” [15
– 16 boy, disadvantaged]
“Yeah because you see the kid get taken by the car and you see his legs up in the air.” [15 – 16 boy,
disadvantaged]
“People tend to think that it’s just a few broken arms and stuff they can deal with, you could maybe hear
the heartbeat and then see the eyes and then suddenly it just stops.” [12 – 14 boy, ethnic]
* Implication of gore draws their attention
* It’s possible to imply gore without overdoing viscera
* Eg intercut car into person impact with flashes of x-ray and broken bones
* Worth taking a cue from various anti-smoking campaigns eg current ‘Hooked’, previous ‘Clotted Artery’…
frequently cited by various teenagers as something which challenges attitudes to smoking
* And worth noting how impact of crash in ‘Sarah Rivers’ (“That’s vicious”) draws a collective gasp of
breath from all groups it’s shown to, underscores communication
129
3.1 OLDER: CONTENT cont.
Be clear and explicit about what distracts them, if taking that tack
Facilitates understanding… in that sense ‘Camera Phone’ posters work harder than ‘Camera Phone’ TV
Address issues that remain untouched by current comms
For example – knowingly take risks…desire to keep up with the pack, not lag behind
“I’ve done that, I’ve run out across the road, I didn’t want to get left behind, I didn’t want to get lost.”
[12 – 14 boy, ethnic]
Sibling Responsibility/older peer to younger peer
Noted that young people go to their friends & respected peers for answers rather than adults… opportunity
to empower mid teens to teach juniors (as year 6 currently teach reception)
Even the most hardened 16 year old gang member in our sample admits he would be horrified if he saw his
youngest sibling behaving like him on the road; give our 16 year old responsibility for somebody younger
than himself and his behaviour will shift… in this instance he would become the hardest task master… it’s
worth investigating some way of representing this ATL/TTL
In car
Some sense the older teens may be more responsive to in car than pedestrian communication…
* Increasingly travelling in cars with contemporaries…
* …fresher territory, have heard pedestrian messages over the years when they were growing up
“My mates take me out, we just go for a cruise around and have a laugh.” [12 – 14 boy,
disadvantaged]
130
3.2 OLDER: STYLE
Hard-hitting
See ‘Graphic’ earlier
Anecdotal evidence from opinion formers and RSOs that really hard-hitting style and tonality coupled with
graphic content can affect behaviour
The above coupled with specific case studies that bring issues to life feel worthy of investigation
As one of our RSO interviews asserted
“With regard to interventions which work – at least in the short term – I mentioned Safe Drive Stay Alive,
which is a presentation given by the three emergency services, LA RSO, a medical body. We were very
lucky and had a consultant from Stoke Mandeville, (but other areas have used Senior A & E nursing
staff to just as good effect) and people who have been affected by a road death. In our case we had
parents whose 18 year old had been killed as a passenger, a paralysed young man (21) who had
wrapped himself the wrong way round a road sign 3 years ago falling off his motorcycle and a young
man who was the surviving front seat passenger in a crash on the Oxford ring road where a car crossed
the central reservation and smashed into the car Daniel was travelling in. Daniel’s best friend Howard,
who was driving, was killed. As Daniel said, ‘A crash doesn’t have to kill you to take your life.’ Sixth
formers are invited to a central venue and shown a film (specially made) of a typical young person’s
night out – 2 boys, 2 (underage) girls going to a club. At one point the car crashes and one of the girls
in the back, who is not wearing her seat belt is thrown forwards. She subsequently dies in hospital…We
know it works in the short term because the daughter of one of our Road Safety Officers came to it and
she said on the way back everyone put their seat belt on in the coach. This had not happened on the
way there!” [Mandy Rigault, Road Safety, Oxford]
Worth noting that visual mnemonics such as the pizza in ‘Safety Belt’ execution can be very effective
device for implying appalling injuries/consequences… power of imagination multiplies effect of mnemonic
131
3.2 OLDER: STYLE cont.
Avoid instructive or hectoring tonality
Teenagers do not respond well to being explicitly told what to do or what not to do, let them extrapolate
‘it’s not worth it’, don’t tell it [as noted ‘Camera Phone’ shows, ‘Hedgehogs’ tells]
Empowering tone perceived as appropriate for teenagers
* Parents think it’s far more effective to make it seem as if teenagers are reaching a decision of their own
volition…
* … ‘you have a choice, you choose to avoid the consequences of your behaviour and actions’
More than one perspective
Pointed out by some that it’s worth seeing issues brought to life from more than one perspective eg you
don’t only just have to worry about yourself but about mad drivers or drunken drivers too, etc
Lots of potential discerned in road safety executions a la condom ads, where 2 distinct executions explore
issue from pedestrian and driver perspective
Already noted that appearance of reality important for both age groups
Teenage reality and culture obviously markedly different to children’s
Most respect for advertising that shows understanding of and appears rooted in their culture…
… however getting nuance even slightly wrong leaves you open to ridicule
‘Camera Phone’ gets it right
Adopting a negative rather than positive tone feels like it’s more effective
ie ‘if you do that, you’ll die’ deemed more motivating than ‘if you do the right thing, you’ll live’
Positive reaction to the more negative of the two condom adverts (where one is positively framed and one
negatively framed) reaffirms this point of view
132
4. PARENTS
View among some parents, particularly ethnic and disadvantaged, is that it should be the job of the
school to instill road safety awareness…
View of other parents is they themselves can do it on an ad hoc basis, although opinion former view is
children need a more systematic approach
Children’s view is that role of parents and teachers equally important, former show, latter teach
Opinion formers believe the most important training that children can get is practical and that the
people best suited to doing that are the parents, that parents need to shift from ad hoc to more structured
training of their children
* Children need to learn to be safe, how to develop judgement skills eg how far away is that
vehicle…won’t get that from sitting in a classroom…
Two potential campaign approaches emerge from research which cut across pedestrian, cycling and in car
Parents recognise that they can offer bad example to their children, most admit to doing so when they are
in a rush and children/teens always pick up on it…
… a campaign rooted in the proposition ‘this is what you’re really teaching your children’ perceived to
have potential for development [may be worth investigating child assuming role of adult spokesperson idea
to ramp up appeal to children & increase pester power]
Parent reaction to Scott Smith and Sarah Rivers executions often very emotional – rooted in fact that these
children won’t realise their dreams, loss of future…
… future-focussed communications revolving around their children’s lives and how they are going to pan
out, and the potential role of road safety sense within that, deemed potentially very relevant
133
4. PARENTS cont.
Plus a clear, practical training programme that moves beyond a 6 page leaflet into DVD/booklet crossover
territory and instructs parents re how to train their (under 8s especially) child(ren) might make sense
“Showing how to ask your child questions, involving your child rather than just telling them.” [O.F.]
N.B. Parents notably surprised by information that a child’s brain is not fully developed re ability to judge
speed/spatial awareness – highlights need for them to keep on top of teaching their children, not to
become complacent
134
5. A NOTE ON PRINT
Just to reiterate what has already being said…
A great story, evolving narrative which engages, perceived as the most efficacious vehicle for
conveying important safety messages
For the youngest, a story which can be conveyed visually as well as via words appeals and informs
More specifically
‘Get Across Road Safety: An Essential Guide For Parents With Children 0 – 6’
* Be clear who intended target is
* Clarify whether this is for parents alone or parents with their children
* Tell story visually as well as in words
* Streamline copy, utilise bullet points
* More pages better than cramped pages
* Avoid seemingly random protagonists
‘Road Safety Activity Book 1: For Children in the Age Zone 4 – 7’
* It may be worth investigating more modern animation/graphic style …
* …which may make it feel less overtly like a school exercise text
* Evidence that children respond to safety messages when they are wrapped up in an engaging narrative
eg ‘Frances The Firefly’, may be worth investigating in the context of road safety
* Some form of reward system for when task completed worth investigating eg stickers
− See Footsteps in appendix
* Opportunity to utilise role play or more creative exercises
135
5. A NOTE ON PRINT cont.
‘Get Across The Road Safety: An Essential Guide For Parents With Children 7 – 10’
* Problems with language need resolving – maintain a clear point-of-view
* Route planning exercise might benefit from a little more clarity
* Could still be more bite-size, utilise visual imagery to tell the story more
‘Road Safety Activity Book 2: Ages 7 – 10’
* Again worth investigating contextualising some of these messages in a narrative construct which is
engaging at the level of a story and interesting to look at like ‘Frances The Firefly’
* More sophisticated and contemporary graphic approach may increase appeal of the book
* Like its Book 1 counterpart would benefit from having some kind of reward system eg stickers at the
back for when tasks completed
− See Footsteps in appendix
136
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
CONTENT, ALL AGES
IMPORTANCE
HEDGEHOGS
CAMERA PHONE
(out of 5)
TV
TV
SCOTT SMITH/
SARAH RIVERS
SHATTERED TV
TV
Provide ‘whys’
5
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Play into
current, shortterm aspirations
5
No
Yes
Not really
Not really
Consequences
on family
4
No
No
No
No
Statistics
Impress
3 or 4
No
Yes
No
No
Reflect rural as
well as urban
milieus
3
No
No
No
No
(for whom is
relevant)
137
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
CONTENT, ALL AGES cont.
DRINK
DRIVING
GHOST
HEDGEHOGS
CAMERA PHONE
CYCLING PRINT
TV
PRINT
PRINT
(SKULLS)
TV
Provide whys
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Play into current,
short-term
aspirations
No
No
No
No
No
Consequences on
family
No
Yes
No
No
No
Statistics impress
No
Yes
No
No
No
Reflect rural as well
as urban milieus
No
No
No
Not really
No
138
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
STYLE, ALL AGES
IMPORTANCE
HEDGEHOGS
(out of 5)
TV
CAMERA
PHONE
SHATTERED TV
TV
SCOTT
SMITH/SARAH
RIVERS TV
Empathetic
5
Not really
Yes
Sort of
Sort of
The appearance of reality
5
No
Yes
No
Sort of
Simple, not convoluted
5
No
Yes
No
Yes
Hard hitting, implying violence
4
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Juxtaposition
3
No
Yes
Yes
No
Sound FX
3
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Emotional pull
3
No
No
Yes
Yes
Evolving narrative
2
Sort of
No
No
No
SFX
1
No
No
Yes
Yes
139
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
STYLE, ALL AGES cont.
DRINK DRIVING
TV
GHOST
CAMERA PHONE
PRINT
CYCLING PRINT
TV
HEDGEHOGS
PRINT
Empathetic
Not for under 17s
Yes
No
Yes
No
The appearance of reality
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Simple, not convoluted
Yes
Sort of
Yes
Yes
No
Hard hitting, implying violence
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Juxtaposition
Yes
No
No
No
No
Sound FX
Yes
No
N/A
N/A
N/A
Emotional Pull
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Evolving narrative
No
No
N/A
N/A
N/A
SFX
No
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
(SKULLS)
140
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
CONTENT, YOUNGER
Green Cross
IMPORTANCE
HEDGEHOGS
(out of 5)
TV
CAMERA
PHONE
TV
SCOTT SMITH/
SHATTERED
SARAH RIVERS
TV
5
Sort of
No
No
No
Consequences
for parents
4
No
No
No
No
Spokesperson
4
No
No
No
No
Code type
values
141
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
CONTENT YOUNGER, cont.
DRINK
DRIVING
Green Cross
GHOST
HEDGEHOGS
PRINT
CAMERA
PHONE
PRINT
CYCLING
PRINT
(SKULLS)
No
No
Sort of
No
No
Consequences
for parents
No
Yes
No
No
No
Spokesperson
No
No
No
No
No
Code type
values
142
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
STYLE, YOUNGER
Not old fashioned
IMPORTANCE
HEDGEHOGS
CAMERA PHONE
SCOTT SMITH/
SHATTERED
(out of 5)
TV
TV
SARAH RIVERS
TV
5
No
Yes
No (until end)
Yes
3 or 4
No
No
No
No
2
No
No
No
No
animation; ‘real’
people
Bright, loud, clear
tonality
Role playing
143
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
STYLE YOUNGER, cont.
DRINK DRIVING
GHOST
HEDGEHOGS
PRINT
CAMERA PHONE
PRINT
CYCLING PRINT
(SKULLS)
Not old fashioned
animation; ‘real’
people
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Bright, loud, clear
tonality
No
No
Yes
No
No
Role playing
No
No
No
No
No
144
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
CONTENT, OLDER
IMPORTANCE
CAMERA PHONE
SCOTT SMITH/
(out of 5)
HEDGEHOGS
TV
SHATTERED
TV
SARAH RIVERS TV
Consequences on
long term
personal well
being
4 or 5
No
No
No
No
Avoid fantasy
4
No
Yes
No
No
Show
understanding of
desire to fit it
4
No
Yes
No
No
Demonstrate
desire for peer
acceptance
4
No
Yes
No
No
Address
untouched issues
3 or 4
No
No
Yes
Yes
(but not relevant for
all)
(but not relevant for
all)
Friends and peers
more important
than family
3 or 4
No
Yes
No
No
Sibling/peer to
peer
responsibility
3 or 4
No
No
No
No
145
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
CONTENT, OLDER cont.
DRINK DRIVING
GHOST
HEDGEHOGS
CAMERA PHONE
CYCLING PRINT
PRINT
PRINT
(SKULLS)
Consequences on
long term
personal well
being
No
Yes
No
No
No
Avoid fantasy
Yes
No
No
Yes
Sort of
Show
understanding of
desire to fit in
No
Yes
No
No
No
Demonstrate
desire for peer
acceptance
No
Yes
No
No
No
Address
untouched issues
No
No
No
No
No
Friends & peers
more important
than family
Yes
No
No
No
No
Sibling/peer to
peer
responsibility
No
No
No
No
No
146
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
STYLE, OLDER
IMPORTANCE
HEDGEHOGS
CAMERA PHONE
SCOTT SMITH/
(out of 5)
TV
TV
SARAH RIVERS
SHATTERED
TV
Graphic,
5
No
Yes
Yes
No
Not instructive
5
No
Yes
No
No
Real
5
No
Yes
No
No
Negative
3
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
hard hitting
rather than
positive
147
SUMMARY COMMUNICATIONS CHART: WHAT COMMS CAN DO
STYLE, OLDER cont.
DRINK DRIVING
Graphic,
GHOST
HEDGEHOGS
PRINT
CAMERA PHONE
PRINT
CYCLING PRING
(SKULLS)
Yes
Not really
No
Yes
Not really
Not instructive
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Real
Not really
Not really
No
Yes
No
Negative rather
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
hard hitting
than positive
148
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