Meta-analysis of the effect of road safety campaigns on accidents

Accid Anal Prev. 2011 May;43(3):1204-18. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


A meta-analysis of 67 studies evaluating the effect of road safety campaigns on accidents is reported. A total of 119 results were extracted from the studies, which were reported in 12 different countries between 1975 and 2007. After allowing for publication bias and heterogeneity of effects, the weighted average effect of road safety campaigns is a 9% reduction in accidents (with 95% confidence that the weighted average is between -12 and -6%). To account for the variability of effects measured across studies, data were collected to characterise aspects of the campaign and evaluation design associated with each effect, and analysed to identify a model of seven campaign factors for testing by meta-regression. The model was tested using both fixed and random effect meta-regression, and dependency among effects was accounted for by aggregation. These analyses suggest positive associations between accident reduction and the use of personal communication or roadside media as part of a campaign delivery strategy. Campaigns with a drink-driving theme were also associated with greater accident reductions, while some of the analyses suggested that accompanying enforcement and short campaign duration (less than one month) are beneficial. Overall the results are consistent with the idea that campaigns can be more effective in the short term if the message is delivered with personal communication in a way that is proximal in space and time to the behaviour targeted by the campaign.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control
  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Environment Design* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement / methods
  • Safety / standards*