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Capital Beltway partners release distracted driving campaign e-toolkit for DOTs

A consortium comprising of Transurban-Fluor, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and AAA Mid-Atlantic have released the ‘Orange Cones – No Phones’ (OC-NP) e-Toolkit – an online resource for state DOTs to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, specifically in construction zones. The e-toolkit expands on the successful regional OC-NP campaign launched in 2009 to reduce distracted driving in Northern Virginia, specifically in the I-495 Capital Beltway HOT Lanes construction zone. OC-NP partners are encouraging DOTs and their project partners across the nation to implement their own OC-NP campaigns. To help organizations launch distracted driving awareness efforts, these partners created an online e-toolkit. The consortium is working with AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) to distribute the e-toolkit nationally.

The OC-NP e-Toolkit provides organizations with the materials needed to implement a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and eliminate distracted driving in construction zones. The e-toolkit provides tips and suggestions for effective ways to use the materials to launch, promote and sustain an OC-NP campaign. Specifically designed for DOTs and their project partners, the e-toolkit includes an overview on building an OC-NP Campaign; sample press release, a sample fact sheet, media talking points, sample research questions, on-road signage artwork, banner advertisements, and evaluation tools. The campaign has proven successful in Northern Virginia. The 2009 campaign reached more than 10 million people through media, advertising, high school assemblies, social media and in-person events. The 2010 campaign reached more than 10 million through media alone. In just one year, awareness of the OC-NP campaign increased from zero to 34%. In addition, between January and July 2010, there was only one traffic fatality on the Capital Beltway in Virginia. For the same time period in 2009, there were four traffic fatalities.

“We have seen distracted driving at alarming levels in Northern Virginia; sadly it is not an anomaly,” commented Lon Anderson, director of public and government relations for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Distracted driving is a national issue and leaders in transportation across the country must take steps to educate drivers about its dangers. The OC-NP e-Toolkit gives organizations everything they need to get the job done.” Transurban-Fluor’s general manager for the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes Project, Tim Steinhilber, said, “We recognize that budget dollars are tight, and we have specifically designed the e-toolkit to deliver maximum impact at a low overall cost. The bottom line is that OC-NP generates results. According to our 2010 Distracted Driving on the Capital Beltway Report, 72% of drivers on the Capital Beltway said they had seen stories in the news detailing the dangers of distracted driving.”

March 18, 2011

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