It’s been 10 years since the Motor Accident Commission (MAC) introduced us to its speed campaign ‘Creepers’, a campaign developed to educate road users of the dangers travelling only a few kilometres over the speed limit.
Road safety experts agree that speed and speeding are significant contributors to not just crashes but the severity of injuries in the event of a crash. More so low level speeding - the mass volume of drivers that exceed speed limits by just a few kilometres – are the area where the greatest reductions in speed related trauma can be made.
Studies conducted by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research identified that a reduction in average speeds by 1 km/hr, would result in a 7% reduction in fatalities and a 3% reduction in casualties on metropolitan roads and at a minimum, a 5% reduction in fatalities on rural roads.
Convincing low level speeders that their behaviour had an impact on road trauma is the challenge that had faced road safety educators, campaigners, enforcers and policy makers for years and the daunting issue facing MAC as it embarked on its first major speeding education campaign after taking charge of road safety advertising in 2007.
MAC began by taking the seemingly obvious step – by talking to drivers and riders. In-depth attitudinal research amongst low-level speeders identified that speeding was an issue, but that the terminology ‘speed’, ‘speeding’ and ‘speeders’ made people think of ‘hoons’, travelling at high speeds and driving reckless – behaviours most drivers are not guilty of which makes messaging that uses these terms irrelevant.
The challenge was to make speeding messages relevant to low level speeders. The result was to re-brand low level speeding to “Creeping”.
“Stop Creeping Over the Speed Limit” was launched in October 2008 and touched a nerve with South Australian drivers, using executions that were at the time new and innovative.
Since 2008 when the Creepers campaign was launched, the number of serious injury and fatality crashes that occurred when a vehicle was travelling over the posted speed limit have more than halved – a 55% decrease from 2007 to 2017 in the number of fatal and serious injury crashes that were known to have occurred when a vehicle was travelling over the posted speed limit.
Whilst this is a positive result, for MAC there is still work to do, particularly given that in 2017, just over one quarter of fatal and serious injury crashes that that were known to have occurred when a vehicle was travelling over the posted speed limit, happened when the vehicle was travelling at 10km/h or less over the limit.