Wednesday, April 14, 2010

$100 for Your Thoughts!

Re-sharing: Lowell Weiss

I hope you’re still feeling great pride about the victory we all achieved in Olympia last month! The Driven to Distraction Task Force is moving full-steam ahead with plans for ensuring that this new law translates into real change in driver behavior—and truly saves lives in our state.

I just got back from a great meeting in Olympia, convened by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. State agencies and private groups like ours are gearing up to complement the new bill with the two ingredients we know are necessary for behavior change: strong enforcement and public education.

Once again, I want to ask for your ideas. Winning ideas in each of the two categories below will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Contest 1: Creative Slogan Ideas
The state and private groups are hoping to help create a clear, compelling, coordinated slogan prior to June 10 (the date when the new law goes into effect) to make everyone in WA aware of the consequences of cell phone use.

If you submit a slogan to by 5 pm on April 23 which gets adopted, we will send you a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Here are some guidelines.
  • It must be short and pithy enough to fit on a bumper sticker or road sign. Therefore, it should be no more than 40 characters.
  • It should not rely on scare tactics. Research shows that it’s usually not effective to try to scare people into changing their behavior.
  • Research shows that effective slogans make the link to enforcement consequences (e.g., “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Hammered—Get Nailed”).
  • It must not focus exclusively on texting or on handheld phone use. It should encapsulate both.
  • It should not be tailored just to one group of drivers, such as teens. It must be quite broad in its reach.
  • It must avoid potentially offensive language.
  • For reference, here is an example of a slogan that aligns pretty well with these guidelines: “Park Your Phone. Or Pay the Fine.”

Contest 2: Creative Event Ideas
Various groups, including ours, are interested in staging a visually compelling event on or around June 10, the day the law goes into effect.

If you submit an event idea to by 5 pm on April 23 that gets adopted, we will send you a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Here are some guidelines:

  • The event must have the potential to attract significant traditional- and new-media coverage.
  • The event should be built around this message (not the right language, but you’ll get the idea): “The new cell phone law is for real. The police are going to be enforcing it. You’re going to get pulled over unless you put down the phone.” We do not want the message of the day to be, “Go get a Bluetooth device,” because even though Bluetooth is still legal, the data show that it is not safer than talking on a handheld phone.
  • The event should not focus on share tactics (see above).
  • The event should involve prominent figures, but it needs compelling visuals and not just speeches.
  • For reference, the Driven to Distraction Task Force created a very successful media event at Qwest Field in January, in which prominent figures drove a controlled cones course while talking and texting on cell phones.

I hope you’ll participate in these important contests--and involve your families, friends, and colleagues as well. And I can’t thank you enough for your interest and support over these past months!

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