Whose the Bloody Idiot?

Whose the Bloody Idiot?

Guest post by Dr Rob Long from www.humandymensions.com taking a big swipe at TAC latest Road Safety Campaign

bloody idiotI took this photo in Melbourne today (4 September 2013) as an example of the continuing strategy by TAC Victoria in their campaign for road safety and ask the question, who is the bloody idiot?

With an abundance of research on the psychology of goals and the psychology of pitching, framing and priming it is surprising that TAC Victoria believe that simplistic insults are a good strategy in safety. Yet when one looks at the statistics on the TAC website (http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/statistics/road-toll-year-to-date ), on current trends, Victoria is due for a record high road fatality rate for 2013 (currently 156/8 = 19.5 per month). If the trend for 2013 continues Victoria will have its highest fatality rate in 5 years. If this is so, wouldn’t one question the success of a longitudinal program to simplistically insult people as a strategy in safety. Why don’t TAC Vic just get with it and go for zero? Just think how inspirational that would be for road safety, not.

Whilst the research on the social psychology on ‘framing’ and ‘priming’ messages is extensive (Plous, Slovic, Bargh, Wegner etc), TAC Victoria continue to parade a strategy of insults as smart ‘priming’. If one thinks they can throw simplistic insults at others then one must also be prepared to wear a few insults oneself. It must be a competition between VicRail (Dumb Ways to Die) and TAC Victoria as to who can insult people the most justified by a quest for safety. When did insulting people ever become a mode of motivation and attraction?

So, here are a few questions for TAC Victoria:

· What kind of bloody idiot thinks an accident is simple and attributed to just a lack of intelligence?

· What kind of bloody idiot thinks insulting mothers of accident victims is a smart strategy for creating a positive culture of safety?

· What kind of bloody idiot thinks an insult strategy doesn’t create psychological projection and deflection of the message?

· What kind of bloody idiot thinks that the group with the highest incidents of road fatalities (people over 70 – http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/statistics/road-toll-year-to-date) are ‘bloody idiots’?

· What bloody idiot ignores the complexities of mental health and the part it plays in many accidents and incidents?

· What kind of bloody idiot thinks they can create a positive safety message by insulting the audience to whom the message is directed?

· What kind of bloody idiot repeats the same strategy when nothing improves?

· What kind of bloody idiot ignores all the research on culture change and motivation when considering strategies in safety?

· How does it feel to be called a bloody idiot, when you think everyone else is a bloody idiot?

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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