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What can we learn from recent evaluations of road safety mass media campaigns?
Mass media campaigns can play an important role in promoting road safety issues to a large proportion of the population. In order to understand what elements make a road safety mass media campaign effective and how we might enhance future campaigns, a review of the literature published during the last decade was conducted. Any general principles concerning effective mass media campaign design and development were identified within the literature. Following this, recent evaluations of road safety mass media campaigns were examined to determine whether campaigns were adopting these best practice principles and the quality of these evaluations was reviewed. A number of broad principles that can enhance the effectiveness of road safety mass media campaigns were identified. While campaign designers appear to be increasingly adhering to these principles, there is still much room for improvement. Closer examination of the road safety campaigns revealed that few were subject to thorough scientific evaluation. It is suggested that evaluations may need to be based on ‘before and after’ comparison of behaviours or variables that can be objectively observed and are closely linked to safety.