Distracted Driving Campaign
In the fall of 2010, the City of Fargo was devastated by five traffic deaths in just three weeks.
September 30: A couple riding a motorcycle was killed in a traffic accident. High speeds were a factor in the crash.
October 8: A man was killed while crossing the street. Alcohol was involved.
October 16: A 17 year old was killed when his vehicle crashed into a tree. Speed and alcohol were factors.
October 17: A 21 year old was killed when his vehicle crashed into an underpass structure. Drag racing and alcohol were involved.
The “Now, Do You Get It?” Distracted Driving Campaign was born as a result of these tragedies. These accidents occurred as the City of Fargo continued to experience rapid population growth and faster paced lifestyles. According to the 2010 Census, Fargo’s population is 105,549, up from 90,599 in 2000. In addition, the community is home to an increasing number of college age students who attend the area’s five colleges and two universities. To stay on pace with these changes, the Department needed to take a more aggressive approach to educate drivers and their passengers about the dangers of distracted and risky driving behaviors.
The concept for the “Now, Do You Get It?” Distracted Driving Campaign was proposed by a member of the Fargo Police Department and carried out in conjunction with a local TV station and video production house.
Chief Ternes and child actor from the "Now, Do You Get It?" Texting PSA
Intended Goals or Outcomes:
The goal of the “Now, Do You Get It?” Distracted Driving Campaign was to raise public awareness about the potentially dangerous consequences of distracted driving. We wanted to create Public Service Announcements that would draw dramatic, emotional responses from viewers to help them understand the importance of being responsible drivers. The “Now, Do You Get It?” slogan was intended to encompass all areas of preventative driving, such as texting while driving, drunk driving and irresponsible driving. We targeted drivers in Fargo and surrounding areas, with special emphasis on young drivers due to their inexperience behind the wheel and tendencies toward risky behavior.
Documentation of Achievement:
Following the launch of this campaign, North Dakota became the 31st state to ban texting while driving. The bill was signed April 26 by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. The law takes effect August 1, 2011. Dalrymple stated at the signing ceremony: “Texting while driving is clearly a dangerous distraction that can result in serious injury or death, and I’m glad to see we are joining a growing number of states that are taking this action to make our roads a safer place.”
The launch of the campaign was covered extensively by local media and created “a buzz” at both the high school and college level. A comment from a Fargo South High student was made after the launch stating; “Now that is how you reach us”.
A survey of North Dakota State University students revealed the vast majority of those who participated, fully grasped the key message of the PSAs and believed the campaign was effective in reaching the community at a wide range of age groups. Some direct comments from the survey about the PSAs include:
- “It makes the irreversible consequences’ a realization. It is relevant to Fargo…
- “It is the perfect example of what could happen. This could ruin someone’s life.”
- “This is an emotional commercial that will stick with people.”
- “This is the wakeup call that people need!”
- “This is effective. No matter who you are, whether you drive or not, this gets the message to you.”