Billboards Deliver Anti-Texting Safety Message

The Ad Council launched a national public service campaign about the dangers of texting while driving, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the State Attorneys General.

The multi-media campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor advertising, and online banner ads. One fourth of the overall production budget was allocated for out-of-home media, and nearly 800 billboards have been ordered.

“The outdoor advertising industry is thrilled to be supporting the new Anti-Texting While Driving campaign,” said Nancy Fletcher, president & CEO, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). “Texting while behind the wheel is a major threat to traffic safety – not only for those committing the act, but also for drivers sharing the road.”

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More than four of five young adult drivers – 82 percent – have read a standard text message while driving, according to a survey conducted by the Ad Council.

“We are greatly appreciative for the support the outdoor community is donating to this important road safety campaign. It is difficult to think of a more targeted environment to reach drivers with an anti-texting and driving message,” said Leith El-Hassan, VP Media Marketing, the Ad Council.

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NHTSA — part of the US Department of Transportation — is the key federal agency responsible for improving safety on America’s roadways.

In 2010, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood launched high-visibility enforcement projects in two test markets to reduce distracted driving (Hartford and Syracuse). After four waves of intense enforcement and public education, including public service messages on digital billboards in Hartford, results were significant.

In Hartford, drivers using hand-held cell phones while driving dropped 57 percent, and texting while driving declined 72 percent, according to the NHTSA.

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Rakesh Raman