There are several issues regarding presentation of results. It is important that:
- Given that safety rating systems need to be built on objective safety data, the ‘messenger’ i.e. the safety rating partnership is actually independent as well as seen to independent of national governmental and industry concerns. Most rating systems have achieved this with broad international consortiums of motoring and consumer organisations, governments from several countries and independent experts (See the EuroRAP and EuroNCAP partnerships).
- Given the variety of safety rating systems which exist, each publication explains clearly what the particular safety rating in question means and draws attention to any limitations;
- Given the wide audience for results, that these are disseminated widely but targeted at the same time at the road using public, fleet buyers and decision makers in general.
Euro NCAP has successfully communicated its findings to road safety professionals and the car industry. As Bernard Gauvin, the French delegate to Europe NCAP stated at EuroNCAP’s 10th Anniversary, the rating system was delivered “in a proper way and using very simple and easy-to-use information. It was non-controversial information both in scientific and commercial aspects and so it was accepted by everybody including consumer associations, media and manufacturers”.
EuroNCAP seems to have been successful in promoting its findings to fleet and car buyers. A SARAC survey of EuroNCAP ratings in Spain and Sweden concluded that Euro NCAP needed to be promoted more widely and effectively so it plays a higher role in fleet purchasing decisions and encourages fleet managers to develop fleet purchase policies to include specific safety criteria. The postal and telephone survey also concluded that both members of the public and fleet purchases needed be educated about sources of information about vehicle safety. Price and reliability seem to be more important than safety in the purchasing decisions of fleet management [SARAC II] .
Mandatory stickers of Euro NCAP ratings on car windscreens in car show rooms has been promoted by safety organisations, as has Euro NCAP promotion by governments not only in terms of general dissemination of ratings but in their in-house policies – as in Sweden.
EuroRAP The value of identifying risk distributions across the major interurban road network, and showing roads which have been improved substantially and those that continue to show persistent safety problems, is now well established through the regular publication of EuroRAP results in many countries.
EuroRAP has focused in multi-agency working, in its research and dissemination and in popularising topics in the messages it provides. This has commanded widespread media attention. EuroRAP has provided a full programme of launches/conferences, and a website attracting more than 2,000 visitors per month. The 2005 risk mapping report covered 18 countries; 20,000 copies were distributed worldwide. The 2006 report added information from 5 new countries, and included the first ever pan-European risk map . From February 2006, the main feature of the dissemination was the “Safer Roads Save Lives” campaign which aims to increase awareness amongst the media of the importance of road infrastructure as a life saving measure, so that they can promote the role of safer roads alongside safer drivers and safer cars, with the result that decision-makers feel authorised to devote funds to large scale improvements to road infrastructure.