Changing behaviors for safer driving

For Washington Traffic Safety Commission

We used the best of social change marketing to influence seat-belt use, curb DUIs, slow down speeders and support multimodal safety.


  • Advertising
  • Social Change Marketing
  • Social media strategy & community management

The challenge

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is recognized as a national leader for embracing social change marketing principles and for its bold vision of zero traffic fatalities by 2030.

DH was a great fit to partner with WTSC on multiple campaigns, including seat-belt use, distracted-driving prevention, and anti-speeding and anti-DUI work. Our projects together range from statewide campaigns to county-specific efforts, all focused on changing behaviors through positive social norming.

traffic fatalities by 2030

The strategy

DH has supported WTSC on a variety of seat-belt use, anti-speeding and anti-DUI campaigns — all through the lens of social change marketing, which combines behavior-change principles and marketing techniques to lead people to make positive choices.

What we did

Click-it or Ticket

Seat-belt use was 95% among Washingtonians, but the final 5% was the hardest to get. It required a campaign that delivered specific messages through specific channels to build positive social norms among rural men ages 55 and older; Hispanic males ages 16 to 25; tribal drivers ages 16 to 24; and other young drivers.

This “Slasher” spot won honors from the American Advertising Federation.

showing the dangers of Distracted driving

Our spots targeting young drivers used simple, relatable analogies to show the unappealing results of distracted driving.

Preventing DUI

DH ran a statewide anti-DUI campaign using paid media strategies to reach audiences most at risk.

This also included developing research to understand and design specialized creative for cannabis users, whose behaviors and attitudes weren’t yet understood by many public health professionals. This research led to original creative work targeting DUIs for cannabis.

Our video and billboard creative targeting cannabis users emphasized the role friends could play to prevent others from driving under the influence.

Hyperlocal Target Zero campaigns

We worked directly with 12 Target Zero managers throughout the state, providing localized strategic counsel on quick-turn but critically important campaigns. This included localized campaigns in 23 Washington counties. This included tactics such as custom billboards at troubled intersections, billboard trucks along roads violated by speeders, ferry and naval base ads, and media relations hits in local newspapers. We worked to directly engage local drivers with messages that would resonate based on core demographics in those areas.

We parked this billboard truck on a road known for speeders.


Over the span of four years, DH conducted 23 campaigns for WTSC resulting in more than 200 million media impressions combined and consistently above-average click-through rates for digital campaigns. The great work being done by WTSC resulted in dramatic changes, such as a 33% reduction in traffic fatalities year-over-year from 2017 to 2018.


media impressions


Reduction in traffic fatalities