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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Australian drivers hit below belt
Australia anti-speeding campaign
Images of road deaths have not curbed speeding, says the RTA

A new Australian ad campaign is seeking to reduce road deaths by questioning the manhood of speeding drivers.

The series of TV ads shows women shaking their little finger - a gesture used to symbolise a small penis - as speeding male motorists race past.

The $A1.9m (805,400, US$1.6m) campaign aims to make speeding socially unacceptable among young drivers.

The "Speeding. No-one Thinks Big of You" campaign will run on TV, in cinemas, at bus shelters and online.

The shock tactics of previous adverts that showed disturbing images of death and injury in road crashes have not worked, says the New South Wales state government authority behind the ads, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA).

We will do what we feel we have to, to get the message through
John Whelan
RTA

Exposure to "computer games, modern media ... and horror films" had desensitised many young males to the violent images of those campaigns, RTA spokesman John Whelan told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The new ads include one young driver revving his engine and rushing through traffic lights in front of two young women and another racing past a female pedestrian.

After both incidents the women wave their little fingers in slow motion with knowing glances.

"We will do what we feel we have to, to get the message through," Mr Whelan said.

Speeding is a factor in about 40% of road deaths in NSW each year, according to RTA figures.

The ad campaign coincides with the introduction of new restrictions on learner drivers, including a ban on all mobile phone use, limits on the number of young passengers allowed and tougher speeding penalties.


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