Rural Pickup Truck Drivers and Safety Belt Use: Focus Group Report



Technical Report Page

Executive Summary


Defining the Problem


Gender and Other Characteristics

Laws Pertaining to Children and Cargo Areas

Focus Groups: Background

Moderator's Guide and Topics of Discussion

Focus Groups: Findings

Focus Group Participants' Attitudes Toward Safety Measures

Focus Group Participants' Safety Belt Use

Focus Group Participants' Responses to Specific Reasons/Approaches

Focus Group Responses to Existing Campaign Approaches - English-Speaking Group

Focus Group Responses to Existing Campaign Approaches - Hispanic Group

Campaign Component Development - English-Speaking Group

Campaign Component Development - Hispanic Group



List of Tables

List of Figures





Campaign Component Development - English-Speaking Groups

After reviewing current safety belt campaigns, the men were put in charge of developing a message designed to get people like themselves to buckle up more often. A few said they were doubtful that anything except excessive fines would get them to change their habits.

"We have superman syndrome, it will never happen to me."

In general, however, participants liked reality-based efforts, saying the ads should be:

"...blunt, factual" "...not a big production""...more like a home video"

It is important that the scenes:

"...look real, not fake or staged"

"The accidents can't be so bad that they look like even if you were wearing your seat belt you'd be dead anyway."

The theme should be family oriented:

"...something that everybody could identify with, not celebrities and stuff, just stuff everyone has in common, like the donuts one we heard."

Some of the pickup truck drivers want to use testimonials. They would like to see someone next to the crashed vehicle saying:

"I wasn't wearing my seat belt the day this happened, and look what it did to me. Here there would be a graphic and show people in a wheelchair or people missing an arm or leg. Then show another crash scene, maybe worse than the first but in this scene the driver was belted and was able to walk away."

One person described his most vivid crash scene memory and suggested it may not be necessary to show graphic, gory detail. He had just come upon a crash and could tell it was a bad one not by the victims but based on the look on the paramedics' and firefighters' faces.

"It was a sobering experience. You knew in an instant whoever it was didn't make it."

Another man suggested using the scene from the movie "Remember the Titans."

"...where the star football player went tearing out of town after the big game and got drilled by a flatbed truck and never could walk again."

It was further suggested that the messages be short.

"The radio message we heard was good but too long. I'd probably change stations.

But if you made it shorter and said something like 'two things could happen -One you live, two you die'. People will listen to that."

Others agreed, especially the younger men who said:

"With video games and stuff today, kids' attention span is like 20 seconds."

The actual radio message mentioned above was about a vehicle crash and the audience was on the receiving end of a phone call about the crash. It did tell the listeners that two things could happen and then went on to give two somewhat detailed scenarios where in one event the friend or loved one was not wearing their safety belt. In that scenario, the person died. In the second scenario the person was wearing their safety belt and lived, but called to say they would be late.

Several people from each focus group liked the slogan from Oklahoma, "What's holding you back" because it got the point of safety belts across without excessive emphasis on 'you must wear a seat belt'.

Others suggested mimicking drunk driving ads that show a regular person doing something ordinary and at the end of the clip it says "killed by a drunk driver on such and such date." In this case the ad ends with "Kristy, age 19 killed in a car accident driving 30 miles per hour on a dry sunny day. No seat belt." This scene is particularly powerful because no one thinks they are going to die in a 30 mph crash and people assume crashes are more likely to occur at night or in bad weather.

A few group members were impressed with the factual information contained in the Maryland brochure even though they do not like the idea of using a brochure to deliver information.

"The fact that you are fourteen times more likely to receive paralyzing injuries if you're thrown from a truck - I didn't know that. People know that you're more likely to die - but what's a seat belt do - it keeps you in that truck and not paralyzed."

The young men participating in these focus groups said they do not fear dying, they fear being paralyzed or maimed.

The English-speaking Lubbock group developed several themes that they would use to create messages to support safety belt use. They would use gory details that would include real pictures of actual people in the aftermath of a truck collision. They would also use specific statistics on crashes such as speed and fatalities of those wearing versus not wearing safety belts at the time of the collision. The data would correspond to their local region. The men would use trusted community leaders and not a celebrity spokesperson to deliver the message.

Information about why children should not ride in the cargo area of pickup trucks should be included in some of the safety belt messages. They would promote the theme of safety belt use and families and use the consequences to self and others approach. A particularly effective image mentioned was a woman pushing the wheelchair of her husband as the consequence of being ejected from his pickup truck during a crash.

The men suggested using images of real, local crashes in which people could recognize the streets of their town. This would increase understanding of the crash as a real and potential threat in their everyday lives. They would also include testimonials of real people whom they know and use this kind of script:

"I just saw a father of one of my son's friends in a wheelchair in the ballpark. I learned that this was the consequence of an accident where he hadn't been wearing his seat belt. It made me feel very sad. I figured that if it could happen to him, it could happen to any of us."

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