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Effective safer driving campaign wins big at national PR awards

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A regional campaign to help make Devon and Cornwall’s roads safer has been hailed as the country’s top public sector campaign by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Local Public Services Group.

The Honest Truth joins up several public bodies with driving schools, providing driving instructors across Devon and Cornwall with free teaching resources to help teach youngsters safer driving habits.  The project has also been taken on by the Fire Service in Hertfordshire.

At the national CIPR Local Public Services Conference on Thursday 7 February, the project was named ‘Campaign of the Year’ following its effectiveness in encouraging young drivers to develop better habits such as always wearing their seatbelts, not using mobile phones in the car, and lowering their speed.  The project also won an award for its teaching Resource Booklet, which was named ‘Best Publication, Leaflet or Flyer’, whilst the partnership approach was recognised with Highly Commended status in the ‘Partnership Excellence’ category.

In its judging summary for the ‘Campaign of the Year’ award, the CIPR LPS Group said ‘this campaign is an excellent example of how much can be achieved at relatively low cost by bringing together professional expertise through partnership working.’

The event followed a string of successes for the campaign which in October 2012 won five awards at the CIPR’s regional ceremony and in December was Commended by the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Awards.

The plaudits follow thorough evaluation of the campaign, much of which was conducted in partnership with the University of Plymouth.  The results since the project’s inception in 2009 and major rebranding in 2012 include: 

• Over 550 Approved Driving Instructors signed-up to date in Devon and Cornwall

• A 73% usage rate reported by member instructors

• Over 80% approval from young drivers and parents for campaign resources across categories of: Informative; Understandable; Will use in future; Started discussion; Led to further investigation of topics; Made changes to habits; Now drive safely; Know where to go for more information.  

• Young drivers exposed to the campaign are over three times more likely to know about key risk factors, their consequences, the Pass Plus scheme and Black Box insurance scheme.  Nearly 80% of students exposed to The Honest Truth knew these versus 21% for those not exposed.

• Of eight behaviour changes suggested by the campaign; such as not speeding or not using a mobile while driving; 70% of young drivers exposed to the campaign would change their behaviour, while only 25% of those not exposed would.

• An 80+% recall rate of key messages among pupils.

• A 95% approval rating for the rebranding and teaching resources amongst focus groups of young drivers and instructors.

The Honest Truth Partnership includes Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Devon County Council, Teignbridge District Council, East Devon District Council, Peppers School of Motoring and Community Safety Partnerships from around Devon and Cornwall, all of whom work together to deliver the campaign.  The Driving Standards Agency also supports the scheme by carrying supplies of leaflets in its driving test centres.

The Chair of The Honest Truth Partnership Board, Sgt. Olly Tayler from Devon and Cornwall Police said:
“The results of the project are way above what we ever dreamed of, and it’s only getting bigger.  In 20 years of roads policing I’ve never been part of a campaign like it, and it’s a great example of public services working together with the private sector for the greater good.

“All this has been achieved with around £3,500 being spent on research, design, print and evaluation.  Set that against the costs of a major collision of around £1.5M in reacting, cleaning up, investigating and where appropriate prosecuting.  If we stop just one crash from happening then this has all been worth it, not only from a financial point of view but more importantly an emotional one.  I’ve seen families destroyed by car accidents, and through The Honest Truth we’re making a proven difference to many young drivers’ behaviours.”

Tim Borrett from East Devon District Council is the project’s Board Member for Communications.  He added:
“We’re extremely proud to be recognised by the only Chartered body for Public Relations in the UK.  These are tight times when people quite rightly scrutinise public sector spending on communications. Hopefully we’re proving that well researched and evaluated communications work can make a real and positive difference to people’s lives and the public purse.”

With The Honest Truth already bought by Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, the team behind it are eyeing further expansion.  Members of the Board are meeting with three more counties soon, as well as national organisations which might want to become involved in supporting the campaign.  The Board hopes that this approach will help the project expand while becoming either self-funding or privately sponsored, making it even better value for local taxpayers.

To find out more about the CIPR Local Public Service Group awards, including the judges’ comments and a case study on the project, please visit

To find out more about The Honest Truth, visit  Approved Driving instructors in Devon and Cornwall who wish to sign up for free can do so online or by calling 01626 215894.

Release date: 12/02/2013 14:34

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  • Created: 16/07/2009 16:51:58 |
  • Modified: 09/09/2010 13:30:20

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