The Zusha! National Road Safety Campaign aims to reduce road accidents by encouraging passengers in PSVs to speak out directly to their drivers against reckless driving. It has three main components: 1) Distribution of Zusha! safety stickers in PSVs 2) Complementary messaging through radio, billboards, social media, newspaper advertisements, editorials, and news articles and 3) National and regional stakeholder conferences to raise awareness.

In the initial research phase, Jack and Habyarimana placed stickers in a random sample of more than 1,000 minibuses in Kenya, and encouraged passengers to speak up when their bus drivers were driving recklessly. Using insurance claim data, the researchers discovered a 50 percent drop in total accidents and a 60 percent drop in accidents with injuries or fatalities after the intervention. The results of their work, published in the working paper Heckle and Chide, earned the researchers additional support from DIV.

Following promising results of Heckle and Chide, a randomized control trial of a road safety intervention in the matatu (mini-bus)sector in Kenya, we implement a second phase of the project at scale. In partnership with Directline Assurance, Royal Media Services, and ASIRT-Kenya, and with Stage 2 support from Development Innovation Ventures at USAID, we randomly assign a variety of motivational stickers to a population of 12,000 matatus across Kenya. We also implement a radio campaign, randomized over time, and use insurance claims data to assess the impact of and interaction effects of the messages.

The grant from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) supports the third phase of the Zusha! study in Kenya, and expands the project to three other countries ­– Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Zusha! represents the first time a project funded by DIV has successfully transitioned from being a pilot program to reaching millions of people. DIV is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to the world’s most intractable development challenges. In sub-Saharan Africa, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children and young adults 15 to 29 and the second leading cause of death for children 5 to 14. Many of these deaths occur in minibuses or matatus, the primary mode of transportation in the region. The accidents cost the local economy billions of dollars a year.