NZ Transport Agency

A powerful story told, using the back of the penalty notice.


There are plenty of young car speeders in New Zealand. The death rate among them is one of the highest in the world. When you speed in New Zealand the police send you an official notification of the penalty points to appear on your license. What better use of the back of this notice than to tell a story that the recipient would do well to take note of.


The empty back of the official penalty notices leaves space to tell a story. In this instance, the space was used to show the wreck of a car, in which a young lad–Shane Sheehan–had been travelling. He was the only survivor of a crash at 170kph. The driver thought he could take a bend at that speed. The driver and three others were killed. The copy on the on the wreck of the car was personalised to the speeder to make it more pertinent. The final sign off – THE FASTER YOU GO. THE BIGGER THE MESS – drummed home the message.

This message was targeted at drivers under the age of 25 and guilty of speeding at more than twice the legal limit. These young men think they are indestructible and that speeding penalty points are just an ‘occupational hazard’ from the ‘killjoy’ authorities.

Over the long term they were monitored to see if they stopped offending.


This mailer was part of a test matrix. Some offenders received messages with the story of Shane. Other received blank notices. Initial signs at the start of the three-year monitoring period showed that these carefully targeted communications were having an effect with a slow drop-off in speeding offences from the target group.


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