ASPPH Public Health Fellows, Ms. Anastazjia (Tasha) Ray, MPH (University of Minnesota School of Public Health) and Ms. DeAndra Morris, MPH (Emory University Rollins School of Public Health) are currently training at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ms. Ray is hosted by the Office of Safety Programs (OSP), and Ms. Morris is hosted by the Office of Communications and Consumer Information (OCCI). During their assignments, the Fellows have focused much of their work on pedestrian and bicyclist safety and have spearheaded efforts, supported and funded by the agency, to develop a program and communication materials with the goal of empowering bystanders by providing them with action steps to help pedestrians involved in a crash.
When involved in a crash with a motor vehicle, pedestrians and bicyclists are more vulnerable than motor vehicle occupants, therefore likely to sustain serious injuries. Additionally, fatality or permanent disability is more likely if receipt of care is delayed following a crash. Injury severity can be reduced by immediate care followed by quick transport to an appropriate trauma center. Therefore, empowering bystanders to act when they encounter a pedestrian or bicyclist crash has the potential to decrease fatalities.
Bystander intervention campaigns have been evaluated for areas such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, alcohol-related emergencies, and more. First aid intervention by bystanders has been researched for trauma victims generally as well, and certain actions have been found to be beneficial. The findings from this research were used to develop bystander intervention communication assets and messaging for bystanders to that encounter traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
Through the development of the bystander materials, the fellows were able to propose messaging and experience the NHTSA media development process. They met with OCCI staff and communications contractors to develop appropriate messaging strategies and visual concepts. Later, they reviewed drafts and provided feedback to assist in the development of the pedestrian bystander care video. The video was released as part of the agency’s first national Pedestrian Safety Month and can be accessed at https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety or https://youtu.be/8VasyuoqLMc
Moving forward, Ms. Ray and Ms. Morris hope to develop and implement programmatic activities in partnership with NHTSA Regional Offices to pair with the communication materials