HSIP Noteworthy Practice Series
Use of the HSIP Flexible Funding Provision
Michigan Uses HSIP Flex Funds for Winter Safe Driving Campaign – Michigan
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) flexed $45,000 of its Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds in FY 2008 to launch a radio public service announcement (PSA) campaign on safe winter driving, which was conducted from December 2007 through March 2008.
The MDOT Communications Department successfully used earned media (news coverage, editorials, etc.) to promote past campaigns, but the number of winter weather-related crashes and the launch of a new slogan and logo – Ice & Snow, Take It Slow – called for increased media exposure. The problem of winter-related crashes also resulted in support for the increased public outreach from the county road commissions around the State.
The MDOT Communications Department oversaw the implementation of the Ice and Snow, Take It Slow campaign, which in the past was supported by state funds. Support for this type of program was in jeopardy based on efforts to direct all state funding toward matching Federal monies on construction projects.
The Ice and Snow, Take It Slow campaign was developed by Clear Roads, a national winter maintenance program with 14 member states. Public information officers from 12 of the state DOTs, including Michigan, contributed time and effort to develop the message based on four top winter safety issues:
Speeding is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) emphasis area on driver behavior and awareness, providing an important link for the Ice and Snow, Take It Slow campaign.
During the winter of 2008, MDOT, which designed the logo for use by 20 states, included the campaign tagline in all news releases, put winter driving safety tips on-line, displayed posters in all Michigan rest areas, and ran a statewide radio campaign. A partnership with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters enabled a wider distribution of the radio PSA, which resulted in securing more than four times the value of the media purchased and greatly extending the campaign’s reach throughout the State.
Because of the flex provision, Michigan has been able to sustain the campaign on safe winter driving, resulting in increased public awareness. Michigan fatal crashes in snow have decreased from a five-year rolling average of 77 in 2005 to 63 in 2009. Serious injury crashes involving snow have decreased from a five-year rolling average of 537 in 2005 to 413 in 2009.