Mike Stevens | Mar 29, 2010

IT MIGHT NOT pass television guidelines, but the Victorian Government has launched onto the internet a colourful new VicRoads campaign aimed at young motorists.

Designed to connect with new drivers and young people learning to drive, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Ken Lay and Roads Minister Tim Pallas announced the campaign today.

Featuring the slogan "Don't be a dickhead" and the unlikely Bureau of Meteorology report that 50 percent of drivers in Victoria are "shithouse", the VicRoads YouTube channel is now playing a number of humour-laden videos that Mr Pallas says are serious in their intent.

“The new viral ad campaign is humorous but with a serious message. It’s a progressive new social media campaign aimed at making young drivers more aware of road safety issues in a format they understand and appreciate," Mr Pallas said.

“This is about talking directly with young Victorians and passing on the road safety message through their social network. Viral ads spread through word-of-mouth and people connecting with each other online.”

Mr Pallas said that 62 percent of young Australians watch online videos, with 58 percent regularly visiting social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube. With internet video memes a growing point of interest online, the new campaign looks to engage young motorists in a way that will see them sharing and passing the message along.

“Young people spend twice as much time per week on the internet than they do watching television and almost three times more time on the internet than listening to the radio," Mr Pallas said.

“Communicating in this way encourages our target audience to engage with the message, and ask their peers to also participate by endorsing the message and forwarding it to friends.”

Deputy Commissioner Lay welcomed the campaign and said it was a new way to educate young people about risks associated with behaviour like using mobile phones while driving.

“Drivers are four-times more likely to be involved in a crash if using a mobile phone while driving. Using a mobile phone is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol reading of 0.08, while texting while driving makes a crash 34 more times likely to occur,” Mr Lay said.

The videos can be watched at the VicRoads YouTube channel by clicking here.

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