Toward Zero Deaths

In 2007, 650 people lost their lives on Arkansas roadways.  Since that time, a number of measures have been implemented in order to reduce motor vehicle fatalities, such as the initiation of a statewide trauma system, passing of the graduated driver’s license and primary seat belt laws, and the installation of more than 1,000 miles of rumble strips and more than 100 miles of cable median barrier.  As a result, the number of roadway fatalities in Arkansas decreased to 551 in 2011 (a 15 percent decrease in four years).  Despite these accomplishments, Arkansas had the second highest traffic fatality rate in the nation in 2010 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2011, the Arkansas Highway Safety Steering Committee began the process of updating the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP).  It was decided the focus would be “Toward Zero Deaths” – setting an ultimate goal of working toward zero fatalities on Arkansas roadways, which supports the Toward Zero Deaths National Strategy on Highway Safety.  The Toward Zero Deaths National Strategy on Highway Safety is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

The Highway Safety Office of the Arkansas State Police and CJRW, along with a group of key stakeholders, established goals for the Arkansas Toward Zero Deaths campaign and set objectives for this unique communications and marketing push. 

The campaign goals were to: 

  • Strive for zero fatalities on Arkansas roadways
  • Reduce the annual number of fatalities in Arkansas to 400 or less by 2017

The campaign communications objectives where: 

  • Influence awareness, attitudes, and actions (change risky behaviors)
  • Gain support and buy-in from stake-holders and supporters 
  • Drive traffic to the official TZD campaign website
  • Build organizational partnerships throughout the state
  • Develop a logo and tagline to brand the Arkansas campaign

In January 2014, the Highway Safety Office of the Arkansas State Police and CJRW official introduced the Arkansas “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign at a major press conference at the State Capitol. The campaign marketing plan provided recommendations for paid and earned media and creative for the initial phase of the TZD campaign.  The plan was carefully crafted to reach the large target audience of “all motorists in Arkansas” – not only drivers but also passengers and other roadway users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and construction workers.

The creative message included a logo and tagline created specifically for the Arkansas campaign, a 30-second television spot and a four-minute video for the website, as well as radio, online, out-of-home, and various downloadable presentation materials. 

The media plan was developed to maximize awareness of the Toward Zero Deaths campaign message among the target audience and to drive the audience to the website for more information.  The three-week plan included a mix of broadcast and cable television, radio, online/mobile, and out-of-home advertising.

Earned media strategies included media outreach beginning with the kick-off press conference to introduce the campaign to the state. Community relations included blogger outreach to get the TZD message distributed by and among key community members and influencers.  The third component in our earned media plan was social media initiatives, which involved establishing a social media presence for the TZD effort, developing a content strategy for social media promotion and creating unique and engaging content to deliver in social media channels. 


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