Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing Program

The driving forces behind OTS’s marketing and public relations programs are information, engagement and communication. We first must engage the public’s interest, to bring them in and open them up to be receptive to communication. We do this through multiple and continuous earned media, active outreach, paid media, and social media connections to the public. After they are engaged, effectively communicating the importance of the life-saving benefits of traffic safety is paramount. By first raising public awareness, followed by social norming, OTS is able to contribute a significant positive change in traffic safety behavior and culture over time. Through public awareness and social norming programs such as “Click It or Ticket,” “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” “DDVIP,” and “Silence the Distraction,” often conducted in conjunction with enhanced law enforcement at the local level, this traffic safety mission was successfully accomplished. OTS continues to be a primary resource for the public, researchers and the press for traffic safety information, best practices, statistics and linkage to other resources. The increase and expanding use of social media is allowing us to reach new members of targeted audiences. OTS currently has very successful and dynamic presences on Facebook and Twitter, with reaches into YouTube and Instagram. With the continued collaboration of and partnership with other agencies, private sector businesses, community organizations, and law enforcement agencies, the vision of OTS will continue in the successful extension of the message of traffic safety to the people of California.


  • OTS Marketing and Public Affairs supports the OTS mission of reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from traffic crashes by creating and implementing comprehensive public awareness programs designed to improve and encourage safe driving practices statewide. In addition, these efforts are intended to make safe driving the behavior of choice for all Californians, including at-risk and under-served communities. OTS recognizes the challenge of reaching a diverse and widespread population of over 38 million people, including 24 million licensed drivers, and creates its public awareness efforts to best and most effectively reach them. OTS strives to be the primary source of traffic safety information, of all forms, for the news and information media.



In December, the OTS continued its annual “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze” anti-DUI public awareness campaign. The campaign stresses that DUIs aren’t only caused by alcohol but can also be caused by driving impaired when under the influence of marijuana or prescription medications. The message took on increased importance as the state began licensing commercial nonmedical cannabis sales on January 1, 2018, under provisions of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

The campaign began with a media event resulting in nearly 2 million impressions. The ongoing outreach activities included partnership development, graphic design, collateral distribution, media relations, television and radio commercial placement, public affairs interviews, and social media. The OTS portion of the effort generated nearly 100 million audience impressions from earned media placements, paid advertising, and public service announcements. Collectively the campaign generated nearly 10 million additional added value impressions. In addition, the OTS undertook its fourth straight year-round effort of managing and promoting its original mobile app, “DDVIP.” The message conveyed was that designated sober drivers are the heroes of any night out and encouraged people to download and use the DDVIP app to get free non-alcoholic drinks and other free considerations for designated drivers from participating bars. The app garnered 42,412 downloads by the end of FFY 2018, an increase of 11 percent from the previous year. The bars and restaurants across the state that honored and promoted DDVIP totaled 1,026 by the end of FFY 2018.

Distracted Driving

This year, the “Put Your Phone Down. Just Drive.” campaign was a fresh take on the OTS’ popular “Silence the Distraction” emoji campaign which was first introduced to statewide audiences in 2015. The goal of both campaigns remained the same – to reduce traffic deaths, injuries and behaviors related to distracted driving. However, the 2018 campaign aimed to be more relevant to today’s smartphone culture, and appeal to even younger audiences – specifically those between the ages of 16-24. The campaign also placed a strong focus on educating drivers on California’s “Cell Phone Law” and its financial implications, while also promoting a new and informative website: The OTS kicked off the campaign with a press conference at the commencement of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month and California Teen Safe Driving Week which also served to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the California hands-free cell phone law.

Ongoing outreach activities included partnership development, graphic design, collateral distribution, and social media efforts. The OTS established partnerships statewide with a variety of businesses including insurance agencies, libraries, high schools, colleges, driving schools, chambers of commerce, and auto body shops to receive and distribute campaign-themed collateral pieces for distribution to their patrons, including tip cards, bookmarks, and posters. The paid media campaign generated more than 80 million impressions including added value television totaling more than $32,000.


The OTS has had great success with its “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor” campaign for several years. The campaign aimed to place equal responsibility on both drivers and pedestrians, highlighting the importance of pedestrian safety awareness regardless of whether one is on foot or behind the wheel. The creative direction for the campaign centered on “Pete Walker”, an everyday pedestrian clad in a full suit of car-part armor to illustrate that in real life, pedestrians don’t have armor. The OTS launched the paid media portion of the campaign in September for Pedestrian Safety Month and organized an engaging media event at a Sacramento elementary school for National Walk to School Day in October. The OTS took a trio of Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor “Pete Walker” crossing guards decked out in car-part armor to the school to help students get to school safely. A 3-D chalk artist created an art display featuring a crosswalk which provided additional engagement about pedestrian safety for the students. The OTS team distributed collateral materials to students and staff throughout the day’s events.

During FFY 2018, the campaign’s four additional car-part armor suits were hosted by grantees and partners in San Diego, Sacramento, Oxnard, Shasta, Long Beach, Woodland and San Leandro and used for bicycle and pedestrian safety public outreach and awareness efforts including crosswalk events. During and after the primary April campaign, the OTS continued providing organizations with campaign materials for distribution to their members, customers, and contacts as well as new and existing partners including county libraries, schools, chambers of commerce, senior centers, and driving/traffic schools.

Overall, the paid campaign garnered more than 115.5 million impressions across all mediums including nearly 19 million impressions in added value. Earned media garnered approximately 5 million impressions for an added value of $268,750.

Contact Us

Address: 2208 Kausen Drive, Suite 300, Elk Grove, CA 95758
Public Information Inquiries: (916) 509-3030 | Fax (916) 509-3055