Yes& General , Government

Navigating Road Safety with FMCSA


Perspective’s from today’s road users

Four wheels and an open road has long been synonymous with the American spirit of independence and individualism. From Chevy pickups and Ford Mustangs to Corvettes and Teslas, all are iconic symbols of American culture. Transportation enables movement and the possibility to go anywhere and encounter anyone. But as too many people learn, life can change in an instant by a roadway crash.

Through its longstanding service to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Yes& partners with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to promote safe driving on our nation’s roads and highways.

FMCSA oversees the nation’s Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) industry and its role in roadway safety. FMCSA partners with and regulates the CMV industry, communicating vital policy, regulatory and educational information to a variety of stakeholders. Its key goal under DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy is to reach zero roadway fatalities involving large trucks and buses, and to curb the thousands of crashes each year involving CMVs.

The sheer size and weight of CMVs increases the risk of serious crashes if they are not designed, maintained and operated safely. Because they share the road with passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, these other road users must understand the unique safety challenges surrounding CMVs: that their height and length results in wide turns and causes extended blind spots for drivers, and that their weight requires more time to stop.

To raise awareness of these safety messages, Yes& partnered with FMCSA to create the Our Roads, Our Safety® campaign. Now in its eighth year, this national public safety effort raises awareness about the unique operating characteristics of large trucks and buses.

While the campaign is nationwide, it also targets states with the most crashes and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Yes& has driven the growth of the national campaign to include more than 30 industry partner organizations. Together, we have targeted FMCSA’s safety messages and materials to reach stakeholders, CMV drivers, road users, and expanded the campaign website with creative content designed for compliance with Section 508 accessibility and diversity standards.

The campaign themeOur Roads, Our Safetyrepresents the shared responsibility of all who use roads to practice safety. CMV drivers, passenger vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians need to see themselves represented and feel buy-in for CMV and general roadway safety.

The Mindset of Today’s Road Users

Research shows that behavior change is the single most important way to reduce crashes. Yes& conducts ongoing research on audience behaviors to make sure campaigns stay fresh and relevant. We recently completed a set of focus groups to explore current mindsets around distracted driving and seat belt use. In exploring this relationship, we uncovered broader truths and first-hand experiences about safety, responsibility and the very nature of our interconnected world.

Our Methodology

We conducted two focus groups via an online asynchronous boardone with individuals who don’t always wear their seat belt (n=6) and one with drivers who use their cell phone at times (n=8).

Seat Belt Use

Most participants emphasized the importance of wearing seat belts in various situationsdaily commutes, bad weather, and when driving in unfamiliar areas or where law enforcement presence is likely. However, some admitted to occasional lapses, often prompted by forgetfulness until reminded by car alerts or situational cues. Others highlighted personal stories of loss or injury due to non-use, underscoring the emotional impact and resulting vigilance in wearing seat belts.


Driver Insights:

  • “I drive a truck for my work. It is a big truck that I have to be very aware of, along with other drivers. I am very confident with my driving skills, especially at work, but it is always other drivers I have to be a little more concerned with.” – Commercial Driver, Virginia, Age 25–34
  • “I try to every time I drive. But to be honest, sometimes I forget until the car starts going and then I put it on.” Driver, Los Angeles, Age 25-34
  • “I tend to wear my seat belt if I'm in a situation where I know there's going to be law enforcement around. So, if I'm on a major highway or if I'm driving in an area that I'm a little more unfamiliar with, or if I am in a larger city where I know there's a larger police presence, I'll typically wear my seat belt.” – Driver, Kentucky, Age 2534

Distracted Driving

Regarding cell phone use, focus group members demonstrated a strong aversion to using their phones in high-risk scenariosheavy traffic, unfamiliar areas, or with passengers in the car. Many employed strategies like using “focus mode” or delegating phone tasks to passengers to avoid distractions. However, the need for navigation, music control, or urgent communications often led to selective phone use, typically at stoplights or in low- risk situations.


Driver Insights:

  • “I use my cell phone on long commutes. Especially if there is less traffic. I often use it for navigation because in my job, I'm going to different sites and want to keep track of how to get there or the best way to get there and get around traffic. I also use it to change the music or the podcast I'm in or skip commercials. I try to avoid texting unless it's short sentences, and will opt to call because I have Bluetooth capability that I can talk hands-free.” – Driver, Wisconsin, Age 25-34
  • “I will use it pretty much whenever to change the music if I don't like the song that I'm currently listening to. The only other times I really do is when there is something that seems urgent on my phone.” – Driver, West Virginia, Age: 18–24
  • “I tend to use my phone when I'm driving in a neighborhood while the speed limits are like 35 mph.” – Driver, North Carolina, Age: 18–24

Navigating Towards Safety

Looking at Gen Z’s ubiquitous use of mobile devices, the rise of autonomous vehicles, and increased production of touch screen-enabled vehicles coming off assembly lines, the road ahead and the types of behaviors that need to change are clear: we must ensure our focus remains on the road. Impairment or distractions must be met with more innovative messaging that encourages drivers to look differently at their future and their behavior on roads. Safety messages are not suggestionsthey are critical safety thresholds.

By embracing these insights and integrating the mindset of drivers into creative work, we not only protect ourselves but contribute to a safer, more harmonious road environment. Every action counts and every decision matters.

In the end, our roads are a reflection of societyour choices, our behaviors, and our responsibilities. They can be a testament to our best selves by enabling us to make it home safely to the things that matter most.



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