Time For Government Intervention On Motor Vehicle Advertising
The Australian Automobile Association has accused the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and the motor industry of deliberately delaying the introduction of guidelines for motor vehicle advertising. AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said the FCAI’s decision to conduct extensive national consumer research into the subject before developing guidelines was a lame excuse that could effectively delay any action on the issue for the rest of the year.
"Consumer research would be a complete waste of time. The issue is not what consumers think about the ads but rather the impact the ads have on motorists and in particular on younger male drivers," Mr. McIntosh said.
"This country has spent millions of dollars promoting the basic road safety message that "speed kills". The use of speed in advertising completely contradicts this message and undermines the National Road Safety Strategy designed to reduce fatalities by 40% by the year 2010.
"Ample research on the impact of speed advertising has been carried out overseas and has led to strong guidelines being implemented in many countries. In Australia there are no guidelines applying specifically to vehicle advertising and as a result we have advertising that would not be permitted in countries like the UK and New Zealand.
"AAA and the State and Territory Motoring Clubs have a number of legitimate concerns about speed advertising. Our concerns are that –
- There is a clear link between speed and serious accidents
- Speed advertising contradicts the primary road safety message that speed kills
- Speed and aggressive driving appeals mostly to younger males who are already over-represented in accident / fatality statistics
- Many of the speed and aggressive driving ads target younger drivers
- Vehicle manufacturers and distributors have no difficulty complying with UK and New Zealand guidelines (so why should Australian motorists be treated differently?)
- There is no evidence to suggest that the UK and New Zealand guidelines have had a negative impact on vehicle sales.
"By adopting these delaying tactics, the FCAI and its members continue to ignore compelling overseas evidence and the views of road safety experts, motoring clubs, the pedestrian council, insurance companies, State Government Ministers and the Commonwealth. We would prefer to see the industry work under a voluntary code but as that now seems unlikely in the foreseeable future we urge the Commonwealth to intervene and impose the draft code it has developed for motor vehicle advertising immediately," Mr. McIntosh said.