ITD asked to “Shift the Conversation” at WASHTO          

ITD’s Office of Highway Safety has been asked to share their new, engaged “Shift” at the upcoming WASHTO meeting in South Dakota in June.

The presentation, titled “Shifting the Conversation: Engaged Driving in the Age of Distraction,” will focus on a new approach to distracted driving, and the program’s successes. The program abstract explains it this way:

“Connecting people to goods and places is the purpose of creating a transportation system. However, as drivers use this system, distractions often prevent them from connecting with the road and with each other – this inattention has dangerous consequences. In an effort to fulfill its mission of safety and to reduce distracted driving crashes, the Idaho Transportation Department has shifted away from messaging about distractions and instead has focused on increased driver engagement.”

ITD launched the engaged-driving program in Oct. 2017, and it has already won a Platinum Award from the national AVA Digital group. It is also being considered for an Idaho Press Club Award, a Rockies award from ther Idaho Advertising Federation, and honors by the National Association of Government Communicators.

Engaged driving is defined as driving in the moment, free from distractions. This approach was created through a collaborative effort by highway safety staff, behavioral safety experts and communication professionals. The goal was to create a positive messaging platform that builds off the shared values and beliefs to grow good behavior.  

Also in development in the program is a workplace toolkit, designed to engage employers in the safety of their drivers and employees. The idea is to help provide training and education to create better driving behaviors at work that will subsequently impact employees in other aspects of their lives.

“The Shift campaign is a call to action to all drivers, and a reminder that every driver has a purpose and a reason to drive well. Shift is a chance for every driver to connect with the road and each other,” explained Office of Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “In the end, it is all about moving the needle on safety, so we are excited to be able to share this concept with other state DOTs to help make our roads safer.”

OHS also will present Shift to the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance in May at their 2018 Summit.    

Published 02-16-18