By Jack Berning
The University of Iowa and the National Safety council partnered in 2015 to launch the “MyCarDoesWhat” public-service announcement, intended to educate drivers on the basic and advanced safety technologies of the vehicles they own.
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, at home, and on the roads.
Vehicle-safety researchers in the Public Policy division at the UI have researched automotive safety strategies for more than 20 years, working at the intersection of safety technology, and public policy.
“It is very much a partnership,” project manager Ashley McDonald said. “The entire division of Public Policy at the university contributes to the research, and the National Safety Council helps to reach a wide audience.”
The public-srevice announcement is an engaging animated video that educates drivers about the importance of understanding their vehicle’s safety technologies and how to use those safety features correctly.
The programs area of research includes human factors and behavior, advanced vehicular safety technologies, distracted driving, teen driving, and crash analysis.
“There has been a proliferation of technologies in the most recent model years and more recently in intro level cars that college students can afford,” said UI Associate Professor Daniel McGehee, the principal investigator. “Knowing how these safety technologies work will make driving safer by preventing crashes altogether or making them less severe.”
“I upgraded to a newer model car this summer with graduation coming up,” UI senior Wesley Rose said. “I never knew my car had so many safety features; it just allows for more peace of mind on the road.”
The vehicle-safety announcement is the first of its kind, and it was honored with a Platinum PR award for Public Service Announcement on Oct. 21.
The Platinum PR Awards recognize the year’s most outstanding communicators, initiatives and organizations in the competitive PR arena.
“We want to continue to get the word out about new, beneficial technologies vehicles can provide on the roadways,” McDonald said. “And we are very excited and honored to receive the award.”