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Public Information

KDOT Announces Major Safe Driving Initiative

March 22, 2001 (Release 01-036)
News Contact: Rosalie Thornburgh, Chief
Bureau of Traffic Safety, (785) 296-3756

KDOT Announces Major Safe Driving Initiative

Statewide campaign will encourage drivers to put safety first

Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary E. Dean Carlson unveiled a major new statewide safe driving education and awareness program at a news conference today at the state capitol.

The extensive new program is called "Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry."

The goal of the program is a simple one - reduce deaths and injuries from vehicle crashes on Kansas roadways. During the year 1999, 540 people lost their lives in crashes in Kansas, leading Carlson to describe the new campaign as "a desperately needed effort."

"We lose far too many mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters to fatal crashes," Carlson said. "A goal of zero deaths is setting the bar impossibly high. Still, we can, and must, act toward reaching it."

"Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry." is intended to serve as an umbrella for all existing highway-safety communications efforts, as well as to present a comprehensive new program based on extensive research of Kansas crash data and Kansas drivers' beliefs and attitudes. State transportation officials hope to reach drivers throughout the state with the new "Safe. Not Sorry." message.

The "Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry" campaign will employ a wide variety of media, including television, radio, newspapers and billboards. A special folder, containing the official state highway map and providing pockets for insurance and registration documents, has been printed with highlights of the "Safe. Not Sorry" message and key emergency contact information. It will be distributed widely by KDOT personnel, including distribution at the State Fair.

A key element of the campaign will be information kits distributed to KDOT field offices. There are eight different information packages, called "modules," each dealing with a different driving situation. These modules will contain a variety of communications tools for getting this safe driving message out to Kansas communities. Module contents range from pamphlets and posters to videotapes and PowerPoint computer presentations.

To ensure maximum impact, this campaign has been based on solid scientific research including an extensive statewide telephone survey and interviews with focus groups of both urban and rural residents. The research revealed that Kansas drivers generally know how to drive safely. They also take pride in both their courtesy and their common sense behind the wheel, and believe this sets them apart from other American drivers.

The surveys, and analysis of crash data, however, indicated that Kansas drivers don't always do the things they already know they should be doing. So the main thrust of the "Safe. Not Sorry." campaign will be to remind Kansas drivers to follow the rules of the road, and to remember the value of using courtesy and common sense behind the wheel.

The campaign will include:

  • "Back to basics" elements that reinforce the fundamental rules of the road, such as how to deal with mechanical breakdowns, and adjusting speed and driving techniques to changing weather and road-surface conditions.
  • Specific driving situations commonly found around Kansas, from merging on high-speed freeways to making room for large, slow-moving farm vehicles on rural two-lane roads.
  • Attention to growing problems such as aggressive driving, drowsiness and driver inattention. "Safe. Not Sorry." materials will caution about distractions ranging from cellular phones and hand-held computers, to bad habits that have distracted drivers for decades, such as eating, reading or applying make-up while driving.

"Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry." is funded with federal dollars. The Kansas Legislature's decision in 1993 to approve a drunk-driving standard of .08 blood-alcohol content brought additional federal transportation funds to Kansas for use in safety education efforts.

This page last updated 03/22/01