The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), through its collaboration with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety and the Partnership for Healthy Cities, says about 980,000 Ghanaians have been reached with the November 2019 mass media campaign addressing speeding in the country.
In a statement issued after the release of the post-campaign evaluation, the AMA said road traffic system in the capital has resulted in the death and disability of many citizens hence the need for such a campaign.
The Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah said, “we want Accra to be a safe, smart, sustainable and resilient modern city. Regrettably, like other great cities of Africa, we are struggling with a road traffic system, which is killing and disabling many of our citizens.”
He said that given evidence that most road crashes are due to behavioural issues and not accidental, there is the need for all stakeholders to join hands and combat the menace by ensuring the change in the attitude of drivers and all other road users through media campaigns and enforcement.
AMA’s “School Girl” campaign was the AMA’s first-ever mass media campaign to address road safety.
The campaign featured a public service announcement (PSA) illustrating the deadly consequences of exceeding speed limits, portraying a young girl struck and killed instantly by a speeding driver while on her way to school. “School Girl” aimed to deter speeding to reduce road traffic crashes and save lives.
The campaign ran on television, radio, social media, and was accompanied by billboards from November 12 to December 18, 2019. Increased speeding enforcement using new speed detection devices ran in parallel during this time period.
Vital Strategies, an implementing partner of BIGRS and the Partnership for Healthy Cities, that helped the AMA to development th campaign believes more of such campaigns will help to save lives.
“When ran regularly and paired with enforcement, mass media campaigns like the ‘School Girl’ campaign are critical in changing attitudes and behavior of road users. We are pleased that the evaluation of Accra’s campaign showed positive changes in attitudes toward speeding. It is a tremendous step in the right direction, but more work is still needed to reduce speeding and save lives,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President for Policy, Advocacy and Communication at Vital Strategies.
Below are findings from the campaign
- The campaign message reached more than 980,000 adults in Accra.
- “School Girl” was highly rated on its message acceptability, comprehension, effectiveness and impact. Among respondents who recalled the campaign, 93% called it effective.
- The campaign generated concern about speeding and a motivation to obey speed limits. 97% stated that the PSA made them understand the consequences of NOT following speeding rules on their lives and that of others.
- The campaign guided behavior change among drivers in Accra: 80% of those that saw that PSA reported that they have tried to stop speeding. 74% of the respondents called for an increase in publicity and advertising about road safety.
- When asked about speeding, those who were aware of the campaign reported more positively. For example, 91% of those who viewed the PSA agreed with the statement: “The faster the speed, the more likely that someone will suffer a serious injury in a crash.”
Speeding is a key cause of traffic crashes globally, contributing to the more than 1.35 million deaths on the world’s roads each year. In Accra, 77% of drivers exceed posted speed limits, according to an observational study by Johns Hopkins University. The AMA’s road safety report for 2015 – 2018 recorded 1,812 road crashes for the year 2018 within the city of Accra.
Meanwhile, the AMA says it is working with BIGRS to undertaken another mass media campaign in 2020 to combat speeding and highlight the need to adhere to speeding rules.