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Por amor

  1. 1. POR AMORCOSTA RICA’S SEAT BELT CAMPAIGN �������������� ������������������������������
  2. 2. Contents01 Introduction02 Objective and criteria of the seat belt project04 Timeline of seat belt legislation in Costa Rica06 Preparatory campaign phase10 Campaign communication12 The launch of the Por Amor Use el Cinturón campaign14 The campaign on the ground...and in the air16 How Costa Rica got its seat belt legislation: timeline18 Post-campaign evaluation20 Conclusions and legacy22 Lessons from the ‘Por Amor Use el Cinturón’ Campaign24 Acknowledgements
  3. 3. IntroductionWearing a seat belt is the single most effective technical road safety measure a car occupant can take. It isestimated that 300,000 lives have been saved and 9 million injuries prevented by seat belts in the industrial-ized world since 980. In low and middle income countries, however, the use of injury prevention devicessuch as seat belts, child restraints and motorcycle helmets is very low. It is in these countries that 80% of theestimated .2 million people killed on the roads worldwide each year die, including many car occupants. It isa major objective of the FIA Foundation to increase seat belt wearing rates worldwide among drivers and pas-sengers alike.From the autumn of 2003 until the summer of 2004, the FIA Foundation supported a nationwide campaign topromote seat belt wearing in Costa Rica in conjunction with the Costa Rican Ministry for Transport, the Na-tional Road Safety Council, the National Insurance Institute and the Costa Rican Automobile Club.This campaign was a pilot project based on the principles of ‘best practice’ developed in the FIA Foundationseat belt toolkit, which identifies the best methods to raise levels of seat belt use. The toolkit, prepared byinternational experts at the UK Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is especially targeted at emerging coun-tries that are confronted with an escalating number of road traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities as a resultof increasing motorization.In the 990s compulsory seat belt legislation in Costa Rica was challenged by a group of radical libertarians.As a result the law was overturned and seat belt wearing rates fell to only 24%. The principle aim of the seatbelt campaign in Costa Rica was to reinstate a seat belt law. This objective was achieved in May 2004 whenthe successful passage of new legislation once again made seat belt use compulsory for front and back seatcar occupants.The target was to achieve a seat belt wearing rate of 70%. However, a national seat belt survey conductedafter the campaign in August 2003 confirmed that, owing to a combination of the compulsory seat belt legisla-tion, traffic police enforcement and a media campaign, this target had been exceeded and seat belt wearingrates for drivers actually jumped from 24% to 82%.This evaluation report aims to share the lessons that the FIA Foundation and our campaign partners havelearned and to act as a practical tool advising future campaigns. We hope that the positive results in Costa Ricawill encourage other countries to undertake similar initiatives.David WardDirector GeneralFIA Foundation Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign |
  4. 4. Objective and criteria of the seat belt projectIn 2002 the FIA Foundation identifies Costa Rica as a candidate country to pilottest its new seat belt toolkit.The objective of the pilot project was to put into prac-tice the guidelines of the FIA Foundation seat belttoolkit to promote seat belt use through legislation, po-lice enforcement and awareness raising campaigns.It was considered that the ideal testing ground was asmall developing or emerging country with a stablepolitical regime and a government and traffic policethat are committed to promoting seat belt use. Thecandidate country was also to have an active FIA au-tomobile club with good networking skills to representthe FIA Foundation locally.Costa Rica meets criteriaCosta Rica was identified as a potentially suitablecandidate. It is a democratic country with a strongrecord of social and economic development. It is asmall country with a population of 4 million of which amajority live in the capital city area of San José. Costa Rica2 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  5. 5. It has a per capita GDP of US $ 4,300 and an annual Since the 970s, Costa Rica has been confrontedgrowth rate of %. Although Costa Rica is still largely with a rapidly increasing number of fatalities and in-an agricultural country with coffee and banana planta- juries as a result of road traffic crashes. Road traffictions, it has expanded its economy to include technol- injuries became the fourth cause of death and the firstogy and tourism, and it has become an attractive des- cause of violent death.tination for outsourcing, especially in software. Thestandard of living is relatively high in comparison with Although the risk of dying in a car traffic crash de-its neighbouring countries. Costa Rica eliminated its creased from 20.8 per 00,000 population in 970-military spending when it dismantled its army in 949 972 to 7 per 00,000 in 2000-2002, the downwardand invested in education and health instead. One of trend was not consistent. The National Road Safetythe former Presidents, Dr Oscar Arias, received the Council, which was established in 979, decided thatNobel Peace Prize in 987 for his work in ending the a new approach was required when the number ofNicaraguan civil war. road traffic casualties increased by 60.67% over the period 1996-2000. Traffic police reported a rise in se-Following the national elections in the spring of 2002, rious injuries of 71.26% in the year 2000 in compari-the Automobile Club of Costa Rica approached the son with 1996, and a 61% rise in the number of minornew government to consider embarking on a national injuries between 997 and 2000. It became evidentseat belt wearing campaign. President Dr Abel Pa- that there was no mechanism in place to begin to re-checo of the Social Christian Party appointed a young duce these numbers or even to maintain the statusand dynamic team at the Transport Department: quo.Transport Minister Javier Chavez and Vice-Ministerfor Transport Karla Gonzalez, who were joined to- The government decided to work with the Globalwards the end of 2002 by Ignacio Sánchez as the Di- Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) and a five-yearrector of the National Road Safety Council and Head road safety plan was developed which set a target toof the Traffic Police. reduce the mortality rate from 7.0 per 00,000 pop- ulation in baseline year 2000 to 4.4 per 00,000Assessment of the road safety situation by 2005. Between 998-2004 the Road Safety Coun- cil received technical assistance in road safety fromin Costa Rica SweRoad, a consultancy subsidiary of the Swedish National Road Administration.Costa Rica is a recently motorized country that sawvehicle fleet growth of 62.32% from 1981-1990 and32.78% between 990 and 200. The vehicle parkin 2003 was estimated at 790,000 units, of which anaverage of 60% is more than 12 years old.Costa Rica’s road network consists of 30,000 km ofroads, of which approximately 7,000 km are paved.According to figures from the National Road SafetyCouncil, 49% of the road infrastructure is in poor con-dition. The roads also mix fast and slow traffic and thisis a particular problem on semi-motorways with maxi-mum speed limits of up to 00 km/h that run throughcommunities. Though pedestrian bridges have beenbuilt in places, they are not systematically used.The most common road traffic risk factors as identi-fied by the National Road Safety Council are drinkdriving, speeding, not respecting traffic lights anddangerous overtaking. Casualty rates among pedes-trians are very high. Road traffic statistics for the pe-riod 998-2000 show that car drivers were fatalitiesin 40% of fatal crashes, followed by pedestrians at26%. Costa Rica has lacked a road safety culture.The motorisation of the country only began in earnestaround 30 years ago and many people belong to thefirst generation of car drivers, with no previous familyrole models from whom to learn road skills and be-havior. Driver training remains poor. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 3
  6. 6. Timeline of seat belt legislation in Costa Rica23 October 1986 – first seat belt 19 August 1997: Seat belt legislationlegislation repealedIntroduction of the first compulsory seat belt legisla- Decision Constitutional Court Decision N° 473-97tion by Ministerial Decree N° 17726-MOPT, which Article 32, § f is considered unconstitutional after amakes seat belt wearing compulsory for front and heated debate during which three “dissident” judgesrear seat vehicle occupants. claim that it is the duty of the State to introduce laws to protect the lives of Costa Rican citizens and that21 April 1989 this justifies the compulsory seat belt legislation and a system of sanctions for non-compliance.Second Ministerial Decree N° 8957-MOPTRequirement for all vehicles to have front and rear However, the Court does not accept this argumenta-seats equipped with seat belts and anchorages in tion and rules that:compliance with international standards and regu-lations. The Decree does not set sanctions for non- • Costa Ricans are free citizens and shouldcompliance but refers to article 105 of Road Traffic be left a choice;Act N° 5930: “Road traffic offences, for which no spe- • Wearing a seat belt should remain an indi-cific sanctions are defined, will carry a fine between vidual’s choice as choosing not to buckle up40 and 300 colones.” does not harm other people or disturb public order;12 December 1990: Seat belt legislation • criminal law sanctions should be reserved only when it is the most efficient way torepealed achieve the objective of legislation and in the case of seat belt wearing, less intrusiveConstitutional Court Ruling N° 877-90 declares that means exist to convince people.article 105 of the above mentioned Road Traffic ActLaw is in contradiction with article 29 of the Consti- The Constitutional Court maintains the requirementtution because it does not define the nature of the to use seat belts for children under 2 and to restraincriminal offence. babies in child seats.22 April 1993: Second seat belt 1997: comparative studies into effects oflegislation seat belt wearingNew Road Traffic Legislation is introduced to restore The first study conducted by the National Road Safe-police enforcement for non-compliance with seat belt ty Council compares the number of in-situ road trafficwearing in Article 132, § f. The traffic offence is de- fatalities, the type of injuries sustained and the typefined this time and the fine for non-compliance is set of crash before and after the judgment of the Con-at Colones 2,000. stitutional Court in August 997. The study reveals that from September to October 997, the number of9 July 1996: in-situ fatalities increased by 58.36 % compared with the two months preceding the judgment.Legal actions against the seat belt legislation are tak-en by two lawyers after they are given a ticket for not The second study compares the number of in-situwearing their seat belts. They argue that the legisla- fatalities in frontal impact car crashes that occurredtion contradicts article 28 of the Constitution, which during the six months preceding (January – Augustsays that individual behaviour that does not disturb 997) and six months after (September – December)public order or moral values and does not cause dam- the judgment of the Court. Again a significant differ-age to third parties is outside the remit of legislation. ence is noted.4 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  7. 7. 1 February 1998 1999: Legislation repealed by the Constitutional CourtThe Road Safety Council holds the first nationwideseat belt wearing survey which reveals a wearing rate The Health Decree is challenged by Constitutionalof only 9% among drivers and 8% among front seat Court decision 5330-99.passengers. October 1999:Feb-March 1998 – Third seat beltlegislation A third seat belt wearing survey reveals that follow- ing the latest repeal of legislation wearing rates haveMinisterial Decree N° 26717-S introduced by Health plummeted to a mere 23% among drivers and 20%Minister Herman Weinstock and the Road Safety among front seat passengers.Council presents seat belt wearing as an interventionto address a public health problem. The objective is 28 June 2001to reduce one of the most important causes of injuriesand fatalities on a national level and to protect the Constitutional Court defines that only minors of agehealth of the motor vehicle driver, the passengers and and disabled persons are legally required to be re-of other drivers and road users. The Decree states strained and that drivers who do not comply with thisthat the serious nature of the injuries sustained by requirement will be given a fine of Colones 2,000.the victims traveling without a seat belt in motor vehi-cles requires priority medical attention at the expenseof other patients; and the economic costs of medicalcare to the victims is a burden to the Costa RicanState and its citizens. Traffic police officers are con-sidered “health officials” of the Minister for Health andarticle 2 sets a sentence of 5 to 30 days for non-com-pliance.2 March 1998:A seat belt survey conducted by the National RoadSafety Council to measure the effects of this seat beltlegislation under a health label reveals a 65% wear-ing rate among drivers and 60% among front seatpassengers.3 June 1998:The positive trend is confirmed in another seat beltwearing survey with seat belt wearing levels of 62%among drivers and 61% among front seat passen-gers. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 5
  8. 8. Preparatory campaign phaseThe FIA Foundation works with the Government of Costa Rica and other roadsafety stakeholders to develop a strong campaign.The first mission visit to Costa Rica took place in Sep- Initial contacts were made with the Minister of Trans-tember 2002 and the key preliminary tasks were set: port Javier Chavez, Head of Road Safety projects Roy Rojas at the National Road Safety Council, and• Carry out an initial assessment of the cur- Germán Serrano Pinto, Director General of the Na- rent situation regarding seat belt use in tional Insurance Institute (INS). The National Insur- Costa Rica; ance Institute is a semi-governmental body that holds a monopoly position in the insurance sector and is• Identify the lead agency in Costa Rica that required by law to commit 0% of its income to road would take overall responsibility for imple- safety campaigns. The INS is also a funding agency menting the campaign; for the fire brigade and the traffic police.• Identify potential external partners from It was evident that there was a lot of interest in a seat leading companies or other donors involved belt wearing promotion campaign, but it was Dr Pinto in Costa Rica; who identified where the main challenges lay. Costa Rica had lost its compulsory seat belt legislation and• Draw up an overall optimal budget for the despite several attempts to revive it, efforts remained campaign with a breakdown of the contribu- fruitless. The FIA Foundation discussed the possibil- tions by partner; ity of reinstating seat belt legislation and the Minister of Transport committed himself to starting the neces-• Establish a Project Partnership with Steering sary legislative process. Group to take forward the campaign imple- mentation.6 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  9. 9. During the mission visit, agreement was reached onthe requirements for a seat belt campaign funded bythe Foundation:• The seat belt campaign was to be based on the best practice guidelines of the FIA Foun- dation seat belt toolkit;• Compulsory seat belt legislation and police enforcement were to be put in place;• In order to measure the impact of the cam paign, seat belt use was to be evaluated as a minimum requirement before and after the FIA Foundation seat belt toolkit campaign, and a mid-term survey was rec- ommended;• Only a long-term campaign is effective in changing seat belt wearing habits. It was therefore recommended that ‘reminder’ campaigns should reinforce the effects and that police enforcement should be sus- tained;• The timetable of the campaign was flexible but the Foundation’s recommendation was to either conclude the campaign on World Health Day on 7 April 2004, the first World Seat belt toolkit interactive demonstration Health Organisation (WHO) annual public health campaign day dedicated to road traffic safety, or to present mid-term results on that day;• The resources offered by the FIA Founda- tion consisted of its best practice seat belt toolkit, the campaign literature featuring a crash test dummy family, the donation of a seat belt slide to simulate the protection that seat belts offer in low speed impact crash- es and the use of a crash test dummy suit. The FIA Foundation also made available funding of $370,000 and the Costa Ricans were asked to find additional funding among the government or corporate partners. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 7
  10. 10. Second mission visit to Costa Rica - “Sharing responsibility for safer roads” called for in-December 2002 ternational political action to reduce the dramatic glo- bal increase in road traffic casualties. The conferenceIn December 2002, a second FIA Foundation mission was attended by government ministers, UN agen-was undertaken to consolidate contacts and to meet cies, international organizations, NGOs and roadthe newly appointed Director of the National Road safety groups. Costa Rica’s Vice-Minister for Trans-Safety Council, Ignacio Sánchez, who had also been port, Karla Gonzalez, spoke at the event about hermade Head of the Road Traffic Police. country’s experience and it was during side meetings that the FIA Foundation finally concluded a partner-During this visit it became clear that the Costa Rican ship with the Transport Ministry. It was agreed that theMinistry of Education was preparing a National Val- Road Safety Council, COSEVI, would take the leadues Campaign to teach Costa Rican school children in organising the campaign by preparing a strategycivic rights and duties, a key element of President document and a campaign budget and beginning itsPacheco’s election platform. The Ministry’s proposal search for partners in Costa Rica.was to incorporate seat belt wearing into the valuescampaign. The Ministry of Education benefits by lawfrom free aerial time for educational and awarenessraising campaigns but did not have enough fundsto produce TV slots. It therefore proposed to makeavailable 20% of its broadcast time to the FIA Foun-dation for TV slots on seat belt wearing in exchangeof funds for the production of the National Values TVcampaign.The FIA Foundation saw some attraction in workingwith the Education Ministry to guarantee some airtime for road safety adverts. However there was aconcern that the road safety message could lose itsimpact if it was just one element in a wider ‘values’campaign. There was a danger that this could result Costa Rican Transport Minister Karla Gonzalezin a lessening in the Transport Ministry’s commitment speaking at the Sharing Responsibility conferenceto initiate seat belt legislation. Campaign partnership and fundingIt was proposed by the Costa Rican authorities thatfour road safety TV spots would focus on courtesy on A core campaign steering group was established con-the road and respect for authority (i.e. the road traffic sisting of the Transport Ministry, the National Roadpolice), in line with the Education Ministry’s Values Safety Council (COSEVI), the National InsuranceCampaign. It was also proposed that a dedicated Val- Institute (INS), the Costa Rican Automobile Clubues magazine would be produced and distributed in and the FIA Foundation. Campaign activities wereexchange for the inclusion of the seat belt campaign planned with entities such as the renowned Nationaland production of handbooks on road safety for use Children’s Hospital in San José which has a lineagein schools. However, on evaluation, there were ques- of Directors with a strong road safety connection; thetions about the cost effectiveness of these school Costa Rican Social Security Organisation, and the lo-education materials. cal Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) rep- resentation.The FIA Foundation was concerned that this mix ofmessages could potentially weaken the central objec- COSEVI initially took on the coordination of the cam-tive of the campaign: to restore seat belt legislation. paign because of its technical expertise in road safetyThis concern was shared by some of the Costa Rican and resources.officials and the Education Ministry decided not toparticipate as a main partner in the campaign. The FIA Foundation was able to participate in the campaign through the Automobile Club of CostaFIA Foundation conference “Sharing Rica. The ACCR became the recipient of the FIA Foundation grant of $370,000, which was designatedResponsibility for Safer Roads” - for campaign development and operation (includingFebruary 2003 materials). The club also appointed a dedicated cam- paign coordinator and hired a PR agency to focus onOn February 2003, the FIA Foundation hosted getting the media to write about the campaign.an international road safety conference in London.8 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  11. 11. The objective was to use free media to inform the The target indicators were defined as follows:public of the benefits of the seat belt; to rally sup-port from the public for a compulsory seat belt leg- • An increase in the seat belt wearing rate toislation; fuel debates on whether individual freedom 40% among drivers and passengers of mo-should take precedence over protecting human life; tor vehicles as a result of a mass mediato publish testimonials of well known public figures campaign;who were saved by a seat belt; and, ultimately, to putserious pressure on politicians. • An increase in the seat belt wearing rate to 70 % as a result of a combination of compul-Although Costa Rican private companies became in- sory seat belt legislation, police enforcementterested when the campaign was in full swing, there and a mass media campaign;was no initial involvement or funding in the campaignfrom private sources. Local funding came exclusively • A 50 % reduction of the number of fatalitiesfrom COSEVI and the INS. The role of these organi- and seriously injured as a result of frontalsations was particularly important in securing funds road traffic crashes.for a paid media campaign. Because the EducationMinistry was no longer involved and its air time offer The COSEVI also laid out a basic campaign scheduleno longer available, there was no initial budget to pur- consisting of a:chase air time. $ 500,000 was raised by the NationalInsurance Institute and $ 250,000 by COSEVI, mainly Pre-campaign: to include conducting a pre-evalu-for this purpose. ation seat belt wearing survey; developing campaign materials and initiating political lobbying for new seatDevelopment of the campaign belt legislation.The campaign strategy document prepared by CO- Campaign: To launch the campaign and involveSEVI in consultation with the FIA Foundation set the mass media; to seek the support of the Presidentincreasing the use of seat belts as a general objec- of the Republic; to distribute campaign materials; totive which would then contribute to a reduction in the begin ‘soft’ police enforcement involving distributionnumber of fatalities and seriously injured as a result of campaign materials and providing road safety ad-of road traffic crashes. vice to motorists; to use all the above tools to influ- ence and persuade Parliament to introduce new seatIn view of the failed attempts in the past to restore the belt legislation.seat belt legislation, the means to achieve this goalwere cautious: Post-campaign: Evaluation of the campaign by• Quantitative and qualitative seat belt wear means of a seat belt survey; and, in the event of suc- ing surveys before, during and after the cessful approval of legislation, high profile police en- campaign; forcement through traffic penalty notices.• a mass media awareness campaign based In its strategy paper, COSEVI set out that sustained on a mix of emotional and rational messag-es; campaign activities would be required to change hu- man behaviour over the longer term, and confirmed• demonstrating the effectiveness of the seat its commitment to continue monitoring seat belt use belt by means of the FIA Foundation’s low over an initial period of four years. impact crash seat belt slide;• to lobby the Constitutional Court and the Parliament, and seek public endorsement from the President of Costa Rica for a reha- bilitation of the seat belt legislation. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 9
  12. 12. Campaign communicationThe central message of the campaign is based on the concept of love and responsibility; thecampaign icon a heart secured by a seat belt.A further FIA Foundation mission to Costa Rica fol-lowed in May 2003 to discuss progress on the seatbelt campaign and to finalise the campaign’s commu-nication toolsThe FIA Foundation endorsed a proposal from CO-SEVI which included two TV spots on seat belt wear-ing and two on the role of the traffic police to demon-strate to Costa Ricans their role in road safety. Publicopinion research had revealed a lack of public trustin the road traffic police arising from perceptions offraud and inefficiency, a problem which was being ad-dressed by the newly appointed Head of Police Igna-cio Sánchez. The seat belt campaign was seen asan excellent opportunity, through ‘soft’ enforcement ofthe seat belt message and through TV advertising, topresent a more positive image of the police.0 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  13. 13. At the time of this mission visit, the FIA Foundationhad finalized the campaign materials which were toact as a supplement to the Foundation’s seat belttoolkit. These materials are based around a family ofcrash test dummies who illustrate the facts about seatbelt wearing.The Costa Rican campaign team decided to producetheir own TV spots with a human and emotional mes-sage, but they adopted the FIA Foundation’s crashtest dummy character as the campaign’s ambassa-dor.The central human and emotional message of thecampaign was based around the concept of love andresponsibility, with a campaign icon featuring a trafficsign with a heart secured by a seat belt. The cam-paign slogan “Por Amor Use el Cinturón” (For love Elliot Coen, ACCR; Karla Gonzalez and ACCRuse your seat belt) deliberately did not demand that President Carlos Macaya discuss strategyCosta Ricans “obey an order”, something which hadproved so disastrous in the past, but asked them tomake the choice to wear a seat belt for the sake offamily and friends.TV spots were produced on seat belt and child seatuse, backed up by dramatic radio testimonials of peo-ple who survived a car accident because they werewearing a seat belt at the time of the crash or thetragic stories of those who never recovered from theinjuries they sustained.In addition to the core seat belt messages, additionalTV spots on dangerous overtaking, speeding and jaywalking were produced. These adverts portrayed thepolice in a positive, friendly and helpful light, makingclear that achieving improved road safety was not aquestion of ‘them and us’ but a shared endeavour.The adverts always concluded with the same signa-ture slogan “Por Amor Use el Cinturón”, representingseat belt use as being at the heart of all sensible roadsafety behaviour. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign |
  14. 14. The launch of the Por Amor Use el Cinturón campaignThe campaign is launched with Presidential support and the legislative process begins.September 2003: The campaign materials were Given his high profile in Latin America, the Columbianready; the supportive politicians and members of F driver Juan Pablo Montoya was invited to endorseParliament prepared for the task of reintroducing the the Por Amor campaign at the launch on 30 Septem-legislation; the traffic police geared up for an active ber. An advance press conference was held in Costarole in bringing the message to the people. Rica to introduce the seat belt campaign and the en- dorsement visit of Juan Pablo Montoya. Invitations forA national seat belt wearing survey was carried out by the inauguration of the campaign on 30 SeptemberCOSEVI in the summer of 2003 to pre-evaluate seat were sent out and the President of Costa Rica, politi-belt wearing rates, to identify the attitude of Costa Ri- cians and Members of Parliament confirmed their at-cans towards seat belt wearing and to assess their tendance.knowledge of the effectiveness of the seat belt. Thesewere the baseline data to be presented at the start of Unfortunately due to a minor illness Mr Montoya wasthe campaign on 30 September, in line with the cam- unable to attend the launch but promised to visit Cos-paign best practice advised in the FIA Foundation’s ta Rica later in the campaign.seat belt toolkit. The launch event went ahead and proved to be aThe FIA Foundation encorages celebrities to endorse success. The Transport Minister Javier Chávez an-its campaign activities. Through the Foundation’’s nounced that the government was going to submit aconnections with motor sport it has used F drivers proposal for new compulsory seat belt legislation asas “road safety ambassadors”. F stars can be par- part of a reform of road traffic legislation and urgedticularly useful because they appeal to young male Members of the Parliament and the judges of thedrivers, the greatest ‘at risk’ motoring demographic Constitutional Court to support it. The President ofand one of the target audiences for safer driving mes- the Parliament, Mario Redondo, and the author of thesages. original seat belt legislation of 1986, Dr Edgar Mohs MP, endorsed the initiative.2 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  15. 15. Data released by the Traffic Police clearly showed theneed for legislation: 92% of the people who died in acar traffic accident were not wearing a seat belt whenthe crash occurred. The results of the seat belt surveyheld in July 2003 were also presented to the press:only 24% of the drivers, 16% of the passengers and8% of the children were found to be restrained.Presidential supportAlthough the President of Costa Rica, Dr AbelPacheco, was unable to attend the launch event, heendorsed the seat belt campaign a week later in hisannual “state of the Nation” and he made an appealto the Costa Ricans to support seat belt wearing. Inhis speech he said the following:“… but there are other actions that the vehicle driversthemselves must take: avoid drink driving, drive cau-tiously and wear their seat belt and ensure that theirpassengers belt up as well. According to the most re-cent data, 92% of the drivers who died in car trafficaccidents were not wearing their seat belt. The useof the seat belt would have prevented 40% of thesefatalities and up to 50% of injuries sustained by thesurvivors of car crashes.This week we have launched a seat belt campaignand we have introduced a proposal for compul-sory seat belt legislation. This is not a coincidencebecause there is evidence that the seat belt saveslives. I hope that the General Assembly will approve,among the other reforms to the road traffic legislation,the compulsory use of the seat belt as well as thereform that will make it a traffic offence to drive underthe influence of alcohol or drugs. Many lives in CostaRica will be saved if legislation is stricter and driversshow a better sense of responsibility.I am making an urgent request that we keep our vehi-cles in good condition, that we use the seat belt andthat we drive carefully. This is a matter of saving hu-man lives, which is the most important mission in alifetime that we could possibly achieve”. The campaign is supported with TV, newspaper and roadside advertising Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 3
  16. 16. The campaign on the ground...and in the airAdvertising, education and enforcement combine as the campaign hits the streets - anddebating chambers - of Costa Rica.Following the launch, the campaign began in earnest The traffic police were enthusiastic partners in theduring October 2003. campaign, developing their positive relationship with motorists through ‘soft’ enforcement advice stopsThe FIA Foundation had donated a seat belt simu- where they encouraged car occupants to wear theirlator to the Automobile Club of Costa Rica, and this seat belt and handed them campaign advice litera-toured shopping malls, festivals, fairs and schools ture.throughout the country to give people the opportu-nity to experience the benefits of the seat belt in low The Costa Rican campaign team also created a realspeed crashes. personality in the crash test dummy character devel- oped by the FIA Foundation. The dummy was givenThe heart icon of the campaign became ubiquitous, the name (in English) “Sir Hard Crash”, assumed awith the campaign’s advertising present on road side professorial air and was featured on leaflets recom-billboards, on traffic signs and on bumper stickers. mending seat belt use that were distributed during theHundreds of thousands of stickers, leaflets, goody campaign. A life size crash test dummy suit was madebags and badges were distributed. available by the FIA Foundation, so Sir Hard Crash was able to join the seat belt simulator in person and even accompanied politicians on the campaign trail to pass on the seat belt message.4 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  17. 17. While the campaign was visible on the streets, it wasalso unavoidable on TV and radio. The highly pro-fessional TV and radio adverts, with their carefullycrafted positive messages of shared respect, loveand responsibility, established the ‘personality’ ofthe campaign in a way that roadside and communityactivities alone could not. The paid media campaignwas complemented by the free media campaign,which achieved significant quality press and mediacoverage, including positive editorial.Breaking parliamentary deadlockAt the outset of the campaign the government pledgedto introduce a reform of the road traffic legislation andurged the Parliament and the members of the Consti-tutional Court not to unnecessarily delay the seat beltlegislation with amendments.However by December 2003, more than two monthsafter the launch and despite the sophisticated aware-ness campaign, the reform of the road traffic legisla-tion had still not been presented in Parliament. Thiswould soon change. In the second week of December,independent filmmaker Richard Stanley visited CostaRica on behalf of the FIA Foundation to gather foot-age for a film on road safety advocacy. The Automo-bile Club arranged interviews with the key players ofthe campaign and the seat belt simulator was filmedduring its demonstration tour. Stanley also visited theTrauma Department of the National Children’s Hospi-tal in San José and met with the Head of the Depart-ment, Dr Vargas, who eloquently described the griefand guilt of parents whose unsecured children hadbeen killed or maimed in a crash.Richard Stanley then went to interview Mario Re-dondo, the President of the Parliament. On hearingabout the delay in the legislative process, Mr Redon-do immediately decided that he would be prepared tosubmit an own initiative bill to speed up the process.With compulsory seat belt use being just one of theamendments in the new road traffic legislation, thelegislative process would take too long. Mr Redondoagreed with the Transport Minister Javier Chavez totable the most urgent articles of the road traffic legis-lation for a first debate before the Christmas holidays:Articles 79 on compulsory seat belt wearing and Ar-ticle 37 on drink driving. As a result of this interven-tion, Mr Chavez agreed with the proposal and in amatter of a few minutes the seat belt legislation wasreleased from its deadlock. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 5
  18. 18. How Costa Rica got its seat belt legislation: timelineFriday, 19 December 2003: At .44 p.m., article 79 on compulsory seat belt leg- islation is approved with 43 votes in favour and fiveTwo articles to be modified in the road traffic legisla- votes against. Also approved is article 37. The sec-tion are tabled for debate: Article 79 on compulsory ond vote is scheduled after the Parliament returnsseat belt wearing imposing a fine of 20,000 colones from recess on 9th January. The Transport Ministerfor non-compliance; and article 37 that enables traf- declares to the press that even if this first vote is onlyfic police to suspend a driver’s license for a year if the the first step to legislation, it arrives just in time fordriver is caught drink driving. In the past the license the holiday season when the road toll is highest. Thelost its validity for 6 months but the driver was allowed positive legislative developments, informative trafficto keep it on the vehicle and exploiting this loophole police actions and the ongoing media campaign willdrivers had continued to use their vehicle. help the habit of wearing a seat belt to take hold.The Libertarians submit 25 amendments and makea vote on the seat belt wearing article impossible.However, the Government refuses to let MPs go intorecess until this piece of legislation is voted on. MPsare unable to gather enough votes to overrule theGovernment’s decision because the People’s ActionParty refuses to support the recess for “ethical rea-sons”. The first debate and vote are referred to anexceptional session on Monday.Monday, 22 December 2003:The debate starts at 3 p.m. and the Minister andVice-Minister for Transport attend to support the leg- Transport Ministers Javier Chavez and Karlaislation. During negotiations, the text of the seat belt Gonzalez at a campaign press conferencelegislation has been slightly amended reducing thefine from 20,000 to 8,000 colones. But the Libertar- 26-28 December:ians still offer fierce resistance and at 10.30 p.m. theymaintain three amendments, which according to the The exodus to the beaches and other holiday desti-rules allow their three representatives fifteen minutes nation has begun. Five hundred traffic police officersspeaking time on each. This would inevitably take the take to the main access roads to ensure that trafficdebate well past midnight, contrary to regulations. is fluid and at the same time they promote the infor-The Libertarians’ obstructive behaviour provokes mation campaign on seat belts. Vice-Minister Karlafierce reactions in the Congress and one of the MPs Gonzalez, eight months pregnant at the time, cam-shames the Libertarians for “having to live with the paigns on the national roads accompanied by “Sirresponsibility for all the road traffic accident deaths Hard Crash”, the FIA Foundation’s crash test dummy.that will occur in the future” if they continue to block Together the unusual pair distribute information leaf-the legislation. The Libertarians have to give in to the lets on the merits of seat belts to car driversimmense pressure.Traffic Police Director, Ignacio Sánchez, debates aLibertarian MP16 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  19. 19. 19 January 2004: 5 May 2004:The Libertarians consult the Constitutional Court to The seat belt legislation comes into force with thegive its verdict on whether the compulsory seat belt publication in the Official Journal La Gaceta. The traf-legislation violates the principle of personal freedom. fic police announce that there will be a grace period of two weeks, to allow Costa Ricans to adjust to the newIn a letter to Karla Gonzalez the FIA Foundation of- legislation. In the meantime, they continue their ‘soft’fers to rally political support from international road enforcement activities.safety forums and to provide technical evidence ofthe benefits of the seat belt to provide arguments tothe Constitutional Court.17 February 2004:The Constitutional Court decides in judgment 2004-01603 that making seat belt use compulsory for driv-ers is not unconstitutional. However, it judges that theproposed fine imposed on the driver if passengersare not buckled up is unconstitutional because it con-siders that the driver has no direct responsibility overthe passengers.The Parliament’s Transport Committee discusses theCourt judgment and decides to disregard it and tomaintain the original text of the legislation.The Automobile Club steps up efforts to boost sup-port from the public and gathers 160,000 signaturesfrom school children which children then hand over inperson to the President of the Parliament.13/14 April 2004: 19 May 2004:The legislation requiring compulsory seat belt use forboth drivers and passengers is approved in the sec- Police enforcement of the seat belt legislation startsond debate. officially. From the early morning hours major police checkpoints are organised, attracting huge media coverage. The traffic police have only 450 officers available for control activities, but roads are blocked and exits closed to create a sense of omnipresence. In his statement to the press, Head of Police Ignacio Sánchez explains that the police will issue a ticket “each time you are caught even if it is two or three times a day” and that he will not rest “until everybody is wearing a seat belt”. By the end of the day 625 tick- ets are issued for non-compliance with the law. By 5 August, this number will increase to 4,975 tickets.MP’s celebrate passage of legislation15 April 2004:Deputy Transport Minister Karla Gonzalez makes astatement announcing the seat belt campaign’s vic-tory at a United Nations Stakeholders event in NewYork, the day after she has addressed the first everUN General Assembly debate dedicated to road safety. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 7
  20. 20. Post-campaign evaluationAny campaign is only as good as its results..in this case increasing seat belt use andreducing fatalities.Although it was initially agreed that a mid-campaign Seat belt wearing rates increased as follows:seat belt evaluation survey would be held on a na-tional level, this did not happen because COSEVI had July August %to divert resources to the advertising budget. 2003 2004 IncreaseAn intermediate seat belt survey in February or March Drivers 24% 82% +58%would have allowed the effects of the advertisingcampaign and of the ongoing debates in newspapers Front seat 16% 76% +60%and on TV in the run-up to compulsory legislation to passengersbe measured. Back seat 0% 48% +38% passengersMost important was to hold a survey once the seat Child seats 08% 37% +29%belt legislation and police enforcement came intoforce to measure the combined effects of all the ele-ments of the campaign. COSEVI and the automobileclub joined forces to carry out the survey in August The survey also included interviews with drivers2004. The survey results showed a sharp increase to understand why people do not wear seat belts;in seat belt wearing rates from the first survey held in whether they know what the risks are of not wearingJuly 2003, prior to the start of the campaign. seat belts; what they believe to be the most efficient measures to increase seat belt use; and what mes- sages or images they remember from the awareness campaign.8 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  21. 21. This led to some interesting results:• The longer the journey, the more likely driv- ers are to use their seat belt;• Reasons given for not wearing a seat belt included the excuses that people find it un- comfortable (they find it hard to move, it bothers them when it is hot or they find that the anchorage of the seat belts is too high) or that they keep forgetting about putting the seat belt on;• However, people seem to be aware that not wearing a seat belt when you have an ac- cident can cause serious injuries or even be Campaign workers from the Automobile Club of fatal (90.8% of the drivers); Costa Rica (ACCR)• Of those questioned, 68% remembered seeing or hearing the seat belt awareness campaign on TV or radio;The survey also studied whether the behaviour of thedriver who does not buckle up has an influence onthe passengers. The analysis of the data shows thatthere is indeed a correlation. Front seat passengersare less likely to wear their own seat belts (7%) ifthe driver is not buckling up. Back seat passengersseem to have even less incentive to put their seat belton with 87% failing to buckle up. None of the childrenwere found to be properly restrained when the driverwas not wearing a seat belt. A clear message cameacross from the evaluation survey: that a lot of workis needed to get across how vital child restraints arefor protection. Child safety was identified as a particular concernJuan Pablo Montoya endorses thecampaignAfter the conclusion of the formal campaign, the Au-tomobile Club of Costa Rica took the opportunity toinvite the Colombian Formula One driver Juan PabloMontoya for the second time to give his support forthe campaign and to maintain the momentum for seatbelt use. Montoya agreed to visit in December 2004.At a press conference in San José, attended by Mon-toya and the new Transport Minister of Costa Rica,Randal Quiros, the results of the second national seatbelt wearing survey were made public. Juan Pablo Juan Pablo Montoya supports the campaign,Montoya was also guest of honour at an awards cer- December 2004 (F Racing: Darren Heath)emony hosted by the automobile club to pay homageto the political leaders who supported the new seatbelt legislation and the awareness campaign. Thesewere Javier Chavez, the former Minister for Transport;Karla Gonzales, former Vice-Minister for Transport;Ignacio Sanchez, former Head of Road Traffic Policeand Director of the Road Safety Council; and MarioRedondo, the former President of the Parliament. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 9
  22. 22. Conclusions and legacyHow effective was the campaign inachieving its policy objectives?The campaign accomplished its mission in terms ofrestoring seat belt legislation and introducing trafficpolice enforcement. However, the country’s efforts tochange the attitudes and behaviour of Costa Ricanroad users continue. The new Director of the RoadSafety Council Roy Rojas is adamant that it will takeat least four years before Costa Rica will be able toclaim that it has undergone a genuine behaviouralchange. Police enforcement of the new seat beltlegislation is therefore to be maintained. Dedicatedenforcement campaigns are held during Easter, sum-mer and Christmas holidays in combination with safe-ty issues such as drink driving and speeding. In 2004, Private funding and support was attracted by the321 people were reported to have died in a car traffic campaign’s successaccident which was 42 fewer than in 2003. COSEVIand the INS dedicated extra funding for additional airtime for the TV and radio spots to keep the heart ofthe campaign beating.20 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  23. 23. How effective was the campaigncommunication?Post-campaign evaluation suggests that the aware-ness campaign retained high levels of recognitionamongst the public some months after the main me-dia campaign had ended. The key creative elementsof the campaign were originated and executed by theCosta Rican campaign team and clearly benefitedfrom local cultural and political expertise.The heart icon has become so popular that it is nowbeing used in COSEVI’s campaign on pedestriansafety. Wherever a pedestrian is hit by a car whilecrossing the road, a heart with a halo is painted onthe road surface. COSEVI is also constructing pedes-trian bridges to provide safe crossing of busy roadsCOSEVI is also running a campaign focusing on childrestraints, ‘Por amor, abróchelos’ (For love, restrainthem) together with the National Children’s Hospital,the Debra Foundation – a charity organisation dedi- Costa Rican children campaign for road safety, 2005cated to supporting children affected by skin diseases– the technical inspections company Riteve and theAutomobile Club of Costa Rica. The aim of the cam-paign is to educate parents on the need for childrenbetween 0 and 2 years old to travel in a special carrestraint system at all times. At the same time the CO-SEVI is also lobbying to extend the Costa Rican legis-lation, which currently only requires restraint systemsfor children up to four years old, to compulsory use ofrestraint systems for children up to 2.The FIA Foundation crash test dummy has subse-quently become a global road safety icon, both in theFIA Foundation’s own Think Before You Drive cam-paign and through use of the FIA Foundation seatbelt toolkit, which is being used as the basis of seatbelt campaigning by organisations across the world.The Costa Rican experience, with “Sir Hard Crash”shows how the crash test dummy can be adoptedand adapted to suit different campaigns and circum-stances, while the underlying road safety characteris-tics and message portrayed by the character remainsthe same.The FIA Foundation seat belt toolkit also provided alogical and practical framework for campaign plan-ning. The toolkit has subsequently been used as themodel for a series of official United Nations manu-als on road safety ‘risk factors’ being produced by theUnited Nations Road Safety Collaboration. The FIA Foundation crash test dummy has become a global road safety icon Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 2
  24. 24. Lessons from the ‘Por Amor Use el Cinturón’ Campaign, Political champions are vital Campaigns need a clear messageThe support and commitment of the ministers in the There was a danger at one stage in the developmentTransport department; the President of the Parliament of the campaign that the core issue of seat belt useand the President of the Republic were essential in would be lost in a wider ‘values’ campaign. By refusingmaintaining momentum at key stages in the develop- to compromise on the campaign content, even at thement and execution of every aspect of the campaign. risk of losing financial support, the campaign steeringThe Deputy Transport Minister, Karla Gonzalez, was group achieved clarity of message and developed ana particularly enthusiastic and active supporter of the extremely powerful and clearly understood campaigncampaign; which resonated with the public; Campaigns need a simple objective Celebrities bring positives but can be unpredicatbleThe ‘Por Amor Use el Cinturón’ campaign set out a Celebrities can bring immense benefits in terms ofsimple objective and a strategy to achieve that objec- media coverage, public awareness and ‘personality’tive: compulsory seat belt legislation and a target for for a campaign, but can also be an unpredictable ele-seat belt compliance. This gave the partners a clear ment in campaign planning.goal to work towards and provided a rallying point forsupporters;22 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  25. 25. Costa Rica, 2003-4 Securing funds can be difficult …the first Evaluation matters time Finding additional sources of funding to supplement Pre and post campaign evaluation was essential for the grant from the FIA Foundation proved very difficult. understanding the scale of the seat belt non com- No private sector donors could be persuaded to par- pliance problem and for measuring the extent of ticipate, despite lengthy discussions in some cases. change following the campaign and the introduction Since the success of the ‘Por Amor Use el Cinturón’ of legislation. It would have been desirable to conduct campaign, commercial companies have been much evaluation immediately after the media campaign more open to working with COSEVI and associating and before legislation was introduced and enforced, with the heart logo. Success breeds success; to ascertain the impact of the campaign alone, but budgetary constraints meant that this was not pos- The best campaigns work at several sible. The evaluation data has been extremely useful levels for targeting further campaigning, for example on the link between parental non compliance and a lack of ‘Por Amor Use el Cinturón’ combined a mass media child restraints; campaign; grassroots activity; police enforcement (initially restricted to distributing advice, not tickets); Sustaining activity is essential and political lobbying. Each strand of the campaign complemented the others, ensuring that all target au- diences were aware of the campaign, and provided a Constant reinforcement of road safety messages sense of momentum; coupled with sustained enforcement over many years is vital for the longer term success of any campaign. Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign | 23
  26. 26. AcknowledgementsThe success of the Por Amor Use El Cinturon campaign was achieved through the collective effort and enthu-siasm of many organisations and individuals. In particular the FIA Foundation would like to acknowledge thefollowing people for the role they played in the campaign:Carlos Macaya, President, Automobile Club of Costa Rica (ACCR)Eliot Coen, former Road Safety Director, Automobile Club of Costa Rica (ACCR)Roy Rojas, Director, National Road Safety Council of Costa Rica (COSEVI)German Serrano Pinto, former Director General, Costa Rican National Insurance Institute (INS)President Dr Abel PachecoJavier Chavez, former Transport Minister, Government of Costa RicaKarla Gonzalez, former Vice Minister of Transport, Government of Costa RicaIgnacio Sanchez, former Head of the National Road Safety Council of Costa Rica and former Head of the RoadTraffic PoliceMario Redondo, former President, Parliament of Costa RicaDr Edgar MohsJuan Pablo MontoyaTRL Limited (commissioned authors of the FIA Foundation seat belt toolkit)Rita Cuypers, Director of Road Safety, FIA Foundation, was responsible for campaign coordination and liaisonon behalf of the FIA Foundation.Picture AcknowledgementsPictures and images are reproduced courtesy of:(page 3): top picture - La Nación, Costa Rica: M. Carvajal(page 3): bottom picture - La Nación, Costa Rica : Eddy Rojas(page 6): La Nación, Costa Rica: Iris de San Guil(page 16): Picture “Libertarios”– “La Nación, Costa Rica: Jorge Castellos”(page 16): Picture “Igual Interés” - “La Nación, Costa Rica”(page 7): Picture “Cariño” - “La Nación, Costa Rica: Carlos Borbon”(page 9): Picture Juan Pablo Montoya – F Racing: Darren Heath(page 2) Pictures Abróchelos: La Nación, Costa RicaCOSEVI and Richard Stanley Productions24 | Por Amor: Costa Rica’s Seat Belt Campaign
  27. 27. Price: £10