Evaluation of Five Years of GM Funding for Public Information and Education Programs

On March 7, 1995, an agreement was reached between General Motors (GM) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to settle an investigation into alleged fires in GM pickup trucks. The agreement avoided litigation and offered an opportunity for meaningful cooperation between government and industry to enhance the safety of the driving public. It required GM to spend in excess of $51 million over a five-year period to support highway safety research and programs that would prevent motor vehicle deaths and injuries. Of interest to the current study was the agreement to expend at least $11,855,000 in certain described areas of public information and education (PI&E) and to expend approximately one-fifth of this amount in each year of the five-year period. The following three types of PI&E activities were covered under the public education section (Section C) of this agreement: support of State safety legislation, support of enforcement of State safety laws and support of safety organizations. Each grantee under this agreement submitted an annual report to GM describing project activities, and GM provided a year-end report to NHTSA of activities and expenditures. The objectives of the current study were to: assess and synthesize the reports submitted by those who received the grants for PI&E activities; determine if the projects funded by the GM grants endured after the grant funding was depleted; and create a database of the information obtained from the various reports that NHTSA can use to perform analyses of interest regarding the five years of GM-sponsored PI&E activities. Six case studies were produced that illustrate the range of activities conducted with the GM grant funds. Tabulations of data extracted from the grantee reports on the 234 projects studied showed that about half of the GM funds ($6,844,000) were given to the 102 grants in support of the enforcement of State safety laws. The 109 grants focused on the support of State safety legislation totaled $2,566,000, and the 23 projects supporting safety organizations received a total of $1,820,000 in GM grant funds. The grantees used the full range of media forms including TV, radio, print and conferences/symposiums. Few projects included formal evaluations, but those that did documented successful outcomes traceable to the availability and use of the GM funds. There was no discernible relationship between project size and success—small and large projects both produced positive results. Follow-up contacts were successful with personnel from 24 of the 44 projects that filed a report in the fifth (last) year of the agreement. Twenty of these 24 projects were still in existence and following substantially the same objectives for which they had received GM grant funds.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Tables;
  • Pagination: 103p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155374
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-811 224
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-05-C-35043 – Task Order 8
  • Files: HSL, NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2010 3:29PM