ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Hambro Cavendish Ltd
Hambro Cavendish Ltd t/a
Povey Cross Road
20 November 2002
Cambridge Cycling Campaign objected to a magazine insert for a GPS radar detection device for cars and motorcycles. The front cover showed a picture of a road with the headline "A special offer to all CSMA members". The words "ROAD ANGEL" were painted on the road. At the foot of the page was a photo of TV presenter Tiff Needell with the handwritten text "I just love this little gadget. Road Angel is quite simply the best of the best." On the inside of the insert, the text continued "TV presenter and motoring journalist, Tiff Needell guards his life and licence with the new ROAD ANGEL Dear Driver, Every now and again a significant advance is made in road safety ... Rather than relying on ''cure'' Road Angels [sic] sole purpose is one of prevention. Warning me of hazardous areas and keeping me advised of my speed. Road Angel works using the very latest GPS satellite technology to inform and educate the responsible road user. In addition to telling me the location of accident blackspots (as designated by the police and local authorities), all speed cameras and digital speed traps, Road Angel can provide me with my own selected location alerts and gives no false alarms whatsoever ... it does the business, will help keep your licence clean and provide essential safety information." On a further page, the text continued: "Guarding your Life and Licence As our roads become busier, more congested and more regulated, driving skilfully and safely becomes ever more challenging. Staying alert to traffic conditions and road hazards throughout your journey is a must ... ROAD ANGEL has been specifically designed to rapidly provide you with the critical information to enhance the safety of your journey ... ROAD ANGEL ... provides you with an audible and visual warning of the approaching hazard, identifies the hazard, and provides a speed check all with one glance ..." On a further page the test continued: "Personal Protection From Accident blackspots ... All fixed Speed cameras - including Gatso, Truvelo and SPECS. Mobile Roadworks Cameras - temporary Gatso and Truvelo. Your own Personal Alerts Your own mobile camera sites - areas known to be monitored. Regulated roadworks - fixed and average speed measurement areas." The complainants objected that the advertisement encouraged motorists to drive irresponsibly and made safety claims that exaggerated the benefits of using the device.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers said speed monitoring devices were placed by local councils on sections of road where the likelihood of an accident was above average. They said the data on major accident blackspots held in their database was supplied to them by the Department of Transport and by local authorities. The advertisers argued that responsible use of the Road Angel would put a motorist in a better position to avoid accidents or driving not suited to the conditions and asserted that tests had demonstrated that users of hazard warning devices had fewer accidents. They conceded that irresponsible use of the Road Angel could lead to speeding between monitored locations but argued that their advertising focused on responsible use and emphasised the benefits of the driver remaining alert. The advertisers argued that most Road Angel users were mature drivers and said that was probably because their advertising was targeted and promoted a "safe" image. They said they did not have comparative data on the accident rates for users and non-users of Road Angel but were conducting a six-month study of accident rates. The advertisers said some insurance companies offered a discount to drivers using the Road Angel. They argued that it was impossible to exaggerate the benefits, to an individual Road Angel user who avoided a serious accident, of using the device; they also argued that it was better to prevent an accident occurring than to catch somebody speeding after the accident. The Authority considered that the claims "Personal Protection From Accident blackspots ... All fixed Speed cameras - including Gatso, Truvelo and SPECS. Mobile Roadworks Cameras - temporary Gatso and Truvelo. Your own Personal Alerts Your own mobile camera sites - areas known to be monitored", "will help keep your licence clean" and "Road Angel will not alert you to unwanted signals or dangers on parallel routes thus avoiding all those annoying false alerts with other systems" were likely to be seen to condone the use of the Road Angel to break speed limits without being caught and could therefore encourage people to drive irresponsibly and break the law; it asked the advertisers to remove those claims. The Authority acknowledged many speed cameras were placed where the incidence of serious accidents was very high. It noted some stretches of road, particularly in rural areas, had a high but not clustered incidence of accidents and drivers faced dangers on stretches of road that were neither monitored by speed cameras nor designated "blackspots". The Authority considered that the device could help drivers to avoid excessive speed in the vicinity of speed cameras and other pre-determined locations but not elsewhere. It noted drivers faced many dangers that were not linked to certain stretches of road but were dependent on unpredictable factors including other road users. The Authority considered that the claim "ROAD ANGEL has been specifically designed to rapidly provide you with the critical information to enhance the safety of your journey" exaggerated the benefit of using the device because Road Angel merely provided information on areas of extreme danger near speed cameras or other pre-determined locations and did not provide information on other dangers. It advised the advertisers to consult the Committee of advertising Practice Copy Advice team before advertising again.