Background: Motor vehicle crash-related injuries are an important public health issue. Two key areas for intervention are restraint use (e.g., seatbelts, child safety seats) and alcohol-impaired driving. Effective evidence-based interventions are available, but the challenge lies in disseminating information to state, territorial, local, and tribal (STLTs) health departments and their stakeholders. STLTs need access to the latest data on restraint use and drunk driving in their state, as well as information on interventions likely to have the most meaningful impact. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies have this information available, it can be scattered across different databases and difficult for STLTs to locate and synthesize.
Program background: To address this need, CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and Westat developed two sets of educational materials—one on restraint use and one on alcohol-impaired driving—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These state-based profiles aim to: 1) consolidate data and information from an array of federal sources into a single tool; 2) use data visualization techniques to show at a glance where states have been successful and where they could improve; and 3) highlight interventions shown to be effective so STLTs can match local needs to potential solutions. We reviewed 16 databases to identify measures on national and state motor vehicle crash injuries, restraint use, and alcohol-impaired driving. We then synthesized a dataset of key measures around which to design the materials, using an infographic format and guided by CDC’s Clear Communication Index to combine standard “evergreen” content with customized text.
Evaluation Methods and Results: To assess how the profiles resonated with the target audience, we tested prototypes with representatives at 9 STLT health departments. Findings informed development of the final 102 profiles in terms of messaging, layout, how to appropriately package data, and how to balance standardized and customized content to maximize the value of the resources. Feedback from respondents also indicated a need for supplemental online resources. CDC created new webpages that adapted, repackaged, and expanded on content and data developed for the profiles (see www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbelts/states.html and www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/states.html). In the 3 months post-launch, the profiles and online resources combined generated 27,601 page views. Ten of the 13 new pages were among the top 30 most viewed motor vehicle safety pages on the CDC website. The profile documents have been downloaded more than 7,200 times.
Conclusions: Feedback from audience testing and early web analytics suggest that data display tools aggregating national and state-based data in one place are welcome resources for STLTs and stakeholders. Visual data displays are an effective way to communicate and tailor the information for both print and electronic channels. Audience testing the materials provided valuable input for developing resources that meet STLTs’ needs and encourage uptake and dissemination.
Implications for research and/or practice: Tools that feature aggregated visual data displays can help support STLTs in communicating traffic safety information to stakeholders, plan their efforts, and justify local initiatives.