Centre for Road Safety

Emotional messages

Watch our campaign videos that highlight the human and emotional costs of speeding.

Dr Brian Owler

Read a transcript.

James Archer

Read a transcript.


The original Don’t Rush campaign had two phases: Phase 1 Multiple Choice and Phase 2 Testimonials. Both campaigns featured Professor Brian Owler from the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association, representing frontline medical staff directly impacted by the consequences of road trauma. Both phases highlighted the human and emotional costs associated with unsafe driving behaviour.

Phase 1 Multiple Choice was used in key holiday periods and supported other enforcement-style campaigns also aired at the time. The professor was filmed in his customary location, surgery, talking directly to the camera. Dr Owler presented a simple questionnaire with two potential responses for each question. He appealed to the rational side of the viewer’s brain and while only one response was desirable, the neurosurgeon had too often dealt with the damage caused by the alternate answer.

Phase 2 Testimonials featured a road crash survivor and his family, friends and other community members impacted by speeding. It delivered an emotional message, reminding drivers of the serious consequences of unsafe driving with the individuals featured stating “I wish I wasn’t in this ad”. The campaign increased impact by featuring medical professionals, again using Professor Owler delivering the line “I wish I wasn’t in this ad”.

Speeding behaviour

Speeding remains the biggest single road safety issue on NSW roads. Each year about 700,000 speeding offences are recorded across NSW, reflecting the high number of drivers who are prepared to break speed limits.

Driver fatigue is also a significant factor in contributing to the road toll. Driver fatigue can occur in any driver of any age. Some key fatal crash statistics on fatigue (based on fatigue data collected 2005-2009) include:

  • Fatal crashes involving fatigued motor vehicle drivers are more likely to happen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays than on other days of the week
  • The risk of a fatal fatigue crash is highest between 10pm and 6am when the body’s circadian rhythms are programming sleep – four times greater than for the rest of the day
  • 79 per cent of all fatal fatigue crashes occur on country roads


The campaign was presented in two phases, one during holiday periods and the other outside of holiday seasons. Both phases of the campaign had the same objectives:

  • Reinforce the crash consequences of speeding
  • Contribute to an overall reduction in the road toll
  • Develop community consciousness around the emotional and physical impact on others as a result of road trauma
  • Reinforce the importance of speed compliance among all drivers with an emphasis on men
  • Encourage community vigilance among peer groups to speak out against others who break the road rules

Target audience


The primary audience was drivers within the category most recorded in speed-related crashes, characterised by the following:

  • Speed-related crashes in NSW are predominantly a male problem. Fatal crash data for the five-year period (2004-2008) was analysed to identify the distinguishing characteristics of speed-related crashes and the motor vehicle drivers who were considered to speed.
  • Of all drivers involved in fatal speed-related  crashes:
    • 82 per cent were male
    • 40 per cent were males under 30
    • 26 per cent were males 30-49
  • Slightly more than half (55 per cent) of all licences in NSW are held by males and there are two distinct age groups behind the over-representation of speeding male motor vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes. These are:
    • speeding male drivers in the young age group (under 30 years)
    • speeding male drivers in the median age group (30-49 years)
  • Based on this data, the primary target for the campaign was men aged 20 – 49 years


The secondary audience was drivers within the category most recorded in fatigue-related crashes. Overtired drivers were characterised by the following:

  • The majority of drivers involved in fatigue-related fatal crashes in NSW were male (81 per cent)
  • Most of the fatigued drivers and motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were aged 40 years or more (61 per cent)

The secondary target audience also included all NSW drivers as a whole-of-community message.

Key message

The main message of the campaign, “Don’t Rush”, was appropriate for speeding and driver fatigue. Other campaign messages included:

  • There are consequences for speeding
  • Speeding is socially unacceptable
  • Driving to the road conditions will reduce chances of a crash
  • Unsafe driving impacts on more than the individuals involved in the crash
  • Stop. Revive. Survive.

Campaign media

The campaign used television, supported by radio, roadside billboards, print and online advertising. Online users were directed to the Slow Down Pledge initiative where they could watch Professor Owler take the pledge and were encouraged to take the slow-down pledge themselves.


  • Since the campaign was launched in 2010, more than 80 per cent of people surveyed reported that they recall seeing the Don’t Rush, Multiple Choices and Testimonials campaign materials.
  • Campaign Benchmark testing results showed 90 per cent of people thought the campaign credible, believable, informative and that it showed important information. These results have remained consistent over time, with the campaign continuing to achieve reported believability scores above 90 per cent.
  • The television commercials have been considered to provide a new perspective in reinforcing the important message about the dangers and consequences of speeding.
  • The campaign is showing success in increasing awareness of serious injury/permanent disability as a consequence of speeding. More than 70 per cent of people surveyed continue to agree with the statement that the campaign reinforces the message that speeding is dangerous and leads to negative consequences.
  • More drivers continue to consider the message to be relevant to them, with more than 70 per cent of the target audience correctly reporting the main messages of the campaign when surveyed.
  • More than half of respondents were motivated to change their driving behaviour. They reported taking more care in sticking to the speed limit and reducing how frequently they exceed the speed limit.
  • The secondary message of the campaign, fatigue,  continues to be correctly reported by the target audience when surveyed.  More than two thirds of the target audience agree they would be less likely to start a trip when tired after seeing the campaign and four in 10 drivers also correctly identify the dangers of fatigue as a main message of the campaign.