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Drive Safe Phone Safe



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2004 B 8



Executive Summary: 

The use of hand held mobile phones while driving is recognised as a major safety hazard on Australian roads and is illegal in every state and territory.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


It is widely accepted that using hand held mobile phones while driving can cause motorists to remove their eyes from the road and impair reaction times.


In response to these safety concerns, Telstra launched 'Drive Safe. Phone Safe', a national comprehensive community awareness campaign encouraging drivers to use mobile phones responsibly.


The program is based on independent research and features PR, community service announcements, third party endorsement and public information through Telstra Shops, online, selected drive schools and more recently AVIS car hire centres.


The campaigns principal goal is to raise community awareness about the emerging social trend and thereby reinforce Telstras position as a responsible corporate citizen.


The campaign is tailored to address emerging issues, such as the use of SMS while driving, and the behaviour of younger drivers.


In the three years since its launch, awareness of the dangers of using hand held mobile phones while driving has doubled. The campaign continues to this day and is widely referenced both within Australian and internationally.

Situation Analysis: 

Despite being illegal, some drivers continue to use hand held mobile phones in an irresponsible manner. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Commissioned research found that one in three drivers reported making mobile calls while driving at least once a week and more than half answered their phone when it rang in the car[1].


The opportunity existed for Telstra, as the industry leader, to draw attention to the issue and encourage safer driver behaviour.


Telstra undertook the campaign for the following reasons:


  1. There are 14 million mobile phone users nationally [2] and approximately 85% of Australians will be mobile phone users by 2005.
  2. Telstra is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen, as demonstrated through various community sponsorships and education campaigns.
  3. By taking a pro-active stance, Telstra would minimise the need for regulatory intervention.


Telstra recognised that it could not stop people using mobiles in their vehicles, but it could raise awareness about the laws and potential risks. At the same time Telstra could reinforce the need to use hands free kits and MessageBank services.


The task of raising community awareness therefore required an extended communication strategy to engage stakeholders and capture the media agenda.

[1] The 2004 National Drive Safe. Phone Safe Survey was undertaken by AMR Interactive and investigated the mobile phone usage habits of motorists across <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, covering both metropolitan and country areas.

[2] Australian Communications Authority (ACA) Telecommunications Performance Report 200203. Chapter six.


A national survey was undertaken to ascertain the nature of community concerns, attitudes and behaviours so Telstra could address relevant issues and demonstrate results (see appendix A).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


AMR Interactive undertook the survey of 750 mobile phone users spread across <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia, including metropolitan and country areas.


The survey showed 32% of mobile phone users surveyed were taking unnecessary risks by using their mobile behind the wheel.


In addition to the survey, Telstra also:

Target Policies: 

The principal audience is broad and targets mobile phone users living in metropolitan and regional <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Secondary audiences include:

  • Telstra customers and consumer associations
  • Telstra staff
  • Federal Government and regulators
  • State Governments
  • Police authorities
  • Media (print, radio, television and online)

Communication Strategy: 


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Telstra developed a multi-phased communications strategy implemented over three years to achieve the desired attitudinal and behavioural changes.


The initial phase involved creating interest in a topic that at that time had limited appeal. A launch event was used to introduce a new television community service announcement that focussed on the issue. Tailored publicity was also used to drive key messages to suburban and regional media. A secondary exercise involved recruiting third party advocates to provide endorsement.


Re-enforcement of messages was considered essential, as behavioural changes would not occur in a short time frame. The second phase of activity therefore involved the development of an annual survey that provided insight into the issue, captured media interest and provided media angles on an on-going basis. A further consideration was to focus media publicity around key holiday periods, which research revealed were peak times on Australian roads.


The third phase of activity was designed to provide focus on key areas of concern. Research had identified that SMS had become a major distraction for younger drivers.  Accordingly, Telstra created a community service announcement for radio and held a major media conference with third party advocates to create a new campaign focus. Materials were also tailored to meet the information needs of specific market segments.


The following key messages were communicated through all activities:

  • Never use a hand-held mobile phone when behind the wheel its unsafe and illegal in every Australian state and territory.
  • Never send or read an SMS while driving.
  • If you must use your mobile phone in your vehicle, use a hands-free kit and never hold a lengthy conversation - it can distract your attention from the road.
  • Never dial a number, take notes or write down messages while driving.
  • Telstra is committed to encouraging Australians to drive safely.


Phase One (September December 2001)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


  • Launch event Telstra launched the campaign with support from the Australian Automobile Association, the Pedestrian Council of Australian and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association. Research by the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />University of Western Australias Injury Research Centre was presented to add substance to the story. Telstra also worked with Ericsson to reduce the price of hands-free devices sold at Telstra Shops during the launch (see appendix A).
  • Television community service announcement Telstra produced a television community service announcement with a humorous tone underpinned by a serious message. The advertisement played in the lead up to holiday periods and long weekends (see appendix A). 
  • Newspaper print advertisements Telstra ran print media advertorials to support the community service announcements using an SMS message to creatively convey key messages (see appendix A).
  • In-store communication Driver safety brochures were placed in all Telstra Shops, supported by point of sale collateral (see appendix A).
  • Web site launched A web site was created and used as a reference in all communication activity. Visitors could also email Telstra with queries or comments.
  • Third party endorsement Additional third parties were engaged to increase credibility. Organisations included NRMA Insurance, SydneyUniversity and police authorities.
  • Internal communications With 40,000 staff, internal communications at Telstra played an important part of the campaign. Tactics included editorial in the company intranet, staff newspaper, and senior executive speeches (see appendix A).


Phase Two (January 2002 June 2003)


  • Introduction of the National Drive Safe. Phone Safe Survey An annual survey of 750 motorists across Australia was designed to identify community attitudes and behaviours. Research was tailored for each geographic and age segment to increase relevance and local media take up.Key government stakeholders were briefed on the results prior to their announcement, so they could provide additional comment if required (see appendix A).
  • Regular announcementsCommunity service announcements were aired before key holidays and long weekends. General media releases were also distributed, reminding motorists of the dangers of using hand held mobile phones while driving (see appendix A).
  • Cell broadcast messages Over the Queens Birthday long weekend a 'Drive Safe. Phone Safe' cell broadcast message replaced the existing location identifier on Telstra mobile phones along major highways in holiday areas, prompting additional media coverage.


Phase Three (November 2002 June 2003)


  • SMS and driving Commissioned research identified a growing trend of young people using SMS while driving. Telstra joined with the Victorian Police and Victorian Transport Accident Commission to produce a new radio community service announcement in the lead up to the Australia Day long weekend highlighting the dangers of using SMS while driving.  Ted Marsh, whose son Anthony was knocked off his bike and killed by a distracted driver using SMS, recorded the CSA. The Marsh familys involvement strengthened media interest resulting in additional editorial and awareness of the initiative (see appendix A).
  • Drive school For younger audiences,Telstra worked with 'Safe Drive Test Drive' driver education in Queensland to have the radio and television commercials played to students at more than 100 secondary schools and an estimated 4,000 novice drivers.
  • Holiday travellers For holiday makers, particularly those from overseas not familiar with Australian laws, Telstra approached AVIS to produce a Drive Safe. Phone Safe steering wheel cover that appeared in all cars hired from Avis airport outlets (see appendix A).
  • Ethnic segment Asian communities are traditionally high users of mobile phones and were targeted with translated media materials.
  • Regional media Research revealed that many unsafe driving practices occurred on country roads. Media releases were therefore tailored for specific regions, using the local Telstra representative to convey messages to local audiences (see appendix A).


The campaign achieved all objectives, exceeding expectations, within designated timeframes and budget.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Awareness of the initiative has peaked in 2004 with the most recent media announcement generating 360 stories. Post announcement research (undertaken by Rehame, Media Monitors and Cubit) has shown that coverage is 100% favourable or neutral for Telstra. The key message taken from stories is that hand held mobile phones and cars are a dangerous mix. This represents one of the strongest proactive stories led by Telstra - a trend demonstrated annually.


Independent research has shown that over the campaign duration, awareness about the dangers of using hand held mobile phones while driving has doubled, demonstrating the campaign has helped to alert drivers about the risks.


Aside from meeting specific objectives, the initiative has created strong relationships between Telstra and key stakeholders, placed the issue on the news agenda, and provided Telstra with positive ongoing branding.


 To achieve a 15% improvement in community awareness of the dangers of using hand held mobile phones while driving.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • Independent research has shown that awareness of the dangers of using hand held mobile phones while driving has doubled from 32 to 64% (see appendix A).


 To generate more than 300 news stories annually that clearly convey the dangers of using hand held mobile phones while driving and position Telstra positively.

  • Telstra has secured in excess of 300 news stories each year (all states and territories on television, radio and newspapers).
  • Media results are independently evaluated through Cubit, Media Monitors and Rehame (see appendix A). The two most recent announcements generated:
  • (SMS activity) 115 media items across print and electronic media.
  • (2004 National Survey) 360 stories were recorded with 75% in regional <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australia.
  • Telstra's research is often referred to in mobile phone stories, not generated by Telstra. This demonstrates that Telstra is closely linked to the topic.
  • Independent examination of the clips has shown that coverage is 100% favourable or neutral for Telstra.


 To produce at least one electronic community service announcement that receives $50,000 of free media air time annually.

  • Two television and radio community service announcements have been produced and receive significant free airplay well in excess of $50,000 during major holiday periods. For example, the radio CSA received over $100,000 worth of free airplay over the Australia Day long weekend alone (see appendix A).


To involve at least two independent organisations as program advocates, per year.

  • Up to three external stakeholders have been used each year to endorse Telstra's campaign. These include the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance, SydneyUniversity, AVIS and Safe Drive Test Drive.
  • Relationships with third party advocates continue who provide input on upcoming initiatives and approach Telstra with additional partnership opportunities.


 To leverage existing Telstra communications channels, including website and Telstra Shops, to promote key messages.

  • A page has been established at Telstra.com, which includes key messages.
  • Driver tips are communicated in all Telstra Shops through brochures and posters (see appendix A).
  • A cell broadcast message replaced existing location identifiers on Telstra mobile phones along major highways in holiday areas.


To ensure Telstra staff are aware of the campaign so they become champions of the program and implement safer driver practices in their business and personal travel.

  • Tactics included the launch of a staff intranet page, regular stories in the staff newspaper and inclusion in executive presentations (see appendix A).
  • The campaign also featured as part of an Occupational Health and Safety training session for Telstra staff.