The Road Safety Trust has provided funding to evaluate the next stage of a project aimed at increasing seatbelt use among different communities.

In 2020, the Trust, along with Birmingham City Council and behavioural scientist So-Mo, launched the ‘Message Not Received’ project which tested the hypothesis that culturally tailored and targeted messaging could improve seatbelt use in Birmingham’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities and in turn, reduce passenger casualty rates.

The campaign was co-designed with young people aged 16-24 from Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities and tested the messaging for saliency, memorability and potential to change behaviour using randomised control trials.

Following the success of the campaign, Transport for West Midlands has provided funding to broaden the geography and reach of the original project.

The additional funding from The Road Safety Trust will allow for an evaluation that will measure the impact of the Message Not Received project by understanding the reach, visibility and the behavioural change delivered by the online media campaign. This will allow the pilot to be finely tuned for further roll out in the future.

“Recent research has shown that seat belt usage is slipping with a corresponding impact on road deaths and severity of injury,” said Sonya Hurt, CEO of The Road Safety Trust.

“Previous research into seatbelt use by So-Mo has shown that the picture can be far bleaker when ethnicity is taken into consideration.

“Tailored campaigns like this could prove to be powerful tools in tackling this difficult national issue. We hope that the additional funding will provide leverage to the project’s momentum and make a real difference to young people’s seat belt usage and ultimately save lives.”