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Section 9: Public Information and Education

The role of Public Information and Education (PI&E) is to make the public aware of traffic safety issues and practices and their benefits. PI&E activities support and complement the activities of other programs by:

  • promoting compliance with laws and enhancing enforcement efforts
  • building public support for programs
  • informing motorists of safe driving habits.

Traffic safety projects can be enhanced through the effective use of PI&E.

This section describes the procedures and regulations (both state and federal) that affect the production and use of PI&E materials.

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Definition of PI&E Materials

PI&E materials fall into two categories — educational and promotional. These items need to be listed separately in the grant agreement. They are defined as follows:

Educational - material that educates and informs an audience. These materials include items such as activity books, coloring books, brochures, posters, flyers, envelope stuffers, bumper stickers, etc.

Promotional - material that promotes, supports, or enhances efforts. These materials include key chains, on-board signs, mugs, pencils, magnets, litter bags, etc.

NOTE: Promotional items need to be listed as a line item in the budget of a grant, separate from educational material and should also be itemized in an attached detailed budget cost breakdown.

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Production Approval Required

All newly developed PI&E materials using federal or non-district allocated state funds must be submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Traffic Operations Division - Traffic Safety Section (TRF-TS) for written approval by a program manager prior to final production. Materials developed and produced using district allotted state funding need only the approval of the district engineer. The district may submit proposed materials to TRF-TS for review and comment, if desired.

Reproduction of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or other federal government endorsed material already approved is permissible without TxDOT approval. The items must, however, be included in the grant agreement action plan and budget.

For more information, see the subheadings later in this section entitled: “ Criteria for Production Approval,” “ Requesting Approval,” and “ Review and Approval.”

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Limitations on Purchase of Advertising

The limited purchase of media time or space (television and radio time, print and billboard space) for campaigns is permitted in extraordinary circumstances.

Costs associated with the planning, purchase, printing, and distribution of PI&E materials must be an integral part of an approved traffic safety activity or project.

Federally-funded public service announcements must be closed-captioned.

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Ownership of Art Work

All finished or unfinished drawings, art work, designs, etc. prepared by a subgrantee must become the property of TxDOT upon request. This is a requirement in all grant agreements (Article 20 — Texas Traffic Safety Program Grant Agreement General Terms and Conditions).

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Use of Promotional Items

Promotional items can be used for a project to enhance awareness of an issue and provide a reminder message for the recipient after the activity has been completed. When promotional items are included in a project’s activities, a plan outlining the purpose of the items must be included in the grant or with the request for approval letter. The plan should include the following:

  • activity
  • promotional item type
  • quantity
  • cost
  • targeted audience
  • explanation of how the activity will help meet the objective of the project
  • explanation of how the results of the activity will be used and reported.

Promotional items (pens, radios, highlighters, etc.) cannot be freely distributed to the public without any action on a recipient’s part. Persons receiving promotional items must do something to receive them, such as attend a presentation, sign a pledge sheet, fill out a survey form, answer a traffic safety question, etc. The results of the interactive activity must be reported in the monthly or quarterly Performance Report.

Promotional items can only be distributed at activities where traffic safety is emphasized. These items cannot be used in “goody bags” for attendees at fairs or at booths where there is no interaction.

A list must be maintained in the TxDOT TRF-TS file of record outlining the distribution of PI&E material, particularly federally funded promotional materials. The list must include the items, quantity distributed, recipient, and the function. The list does not need to include individual names, only the size of the group that received items.

EXAMPLE: “200 students at Austin High School received 200 key chains and posters for attending a Safe Spring Break presentation.”

To assist with tracking the distribution of material, districts and subgrantees should use the PI&E Material Distribution form described later in this section under “ Forms,” to record the items given out. For more information, see “ Inventory Records” later in this section.

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Criteria for Production Approval

For a subgrantee to obtain TRF-TS approval for PI&E material, the following conditions must be met:

  • The material must be an allowable cost item in the grant agreement budget.
  • A plan outlining the use of the material must be included in the grant agreement or with the request for approval letter. The plan must include the item, purpose, quantity, cost, targeted audience, interactive activity (for promotional items), and how the results will be used and reported.
  • The material must be relevant to the objectives stated in the agreement.
  • The information must be accurate, current, and technically correct.
  • The material design and message must be appropriate to the intended audience.
  • The material must not conflict with Texas Traffic Safety Program priorities, objectives, or directives.
  • Dated material (material with a year or date printed on it) should be produced in a quantity appropriate for the size of the audience so it can be distributed within the specified time frame.
  • The quantity must be cost effective and sufficient to meet the objectives stated in the grant agreement.
  • The activity where the items will be distributed must be appropriate to the objective and the audience.
  • Each item must display the approved “Save a Life”™ logo. Items that are too small for the logo must display one of the following credit lines (whichever is appropriate):
    • “In cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation”
    • “Texas Department of Transportation.”

NOTE: Omission of the logo requires TxDOT TRF-TS approval.

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Requesting Approval

When federal or state grant funds are budgeted for PI&E material, a plan will be included in the agreement or with the request for approval letter. This plan should be discussed during the negotiation phase of the grant proposal process. Requirements for the subgrantee should be reviewed, including policies, procedures, and reporting.

Material Approval Checklist. When a material production request is developed, it must be completed by using the PI&E Material Approval Checklist. The checklist is located under “Supplemental Approvals” and can be found in the “Examine Related Items” section of the grant. To submit a PI&E Material Approval Checklist, follow the steps below.

  1. Select “View Related Items” in the “Examine Related Items” section of the grant.
  2. Click on “Initiate a Supplemental.”
  3. Select “I Agree” when prompted “Are you sure you want to create a Supplemental Report?”
  4. Click on the “View, Edit and Complete Forms” section of the grant to view all available supplemental forms.
  5. Choose the “PI&E Materials Plan.”
  6. Follow the instructions and complete and save the form.
  7. Complete the checklist request process by changing the status of the form (found under “Change the Status”) to “SR Submitted.”
  8. Once the status of the request has been changed to “SR Submitted”, the request will be electronically forwarded to the appropriate project or program manager for review.

Statewide Subgrantee. Statewide subgrantees obtain approval for material production by submitting material art work (does not have to be in camera-ready form), or a copy of the items to be reproduced to TRF-TS. The request must include the item, quantity, audience, purpose, and estimated cost. For promotional items, an interactive activity must be explained.

Local Subgrantee. Local subgrantees obtain approval for material production by submitting material art work (does not have to be in camera ready form), or a copy of the item to be reproduced, to the appropriate TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist (TSS). The request must include the item, quantity, audience, purpose and estimated cost. For promotional items, an interactive activity must be explained (see “ Use of Promotional Items” earlier in this section). If the TSS approves the item, the TSS will submit the request to TxDOT TRF-TS in Austin for review.

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Review and Approval

When a material production request is received at TRF-TS, the appropriate program manager reviews and approves it for TSS-managed projects and state subgrantees with limited distribution. Materials produced for statewide distribution must be approved by the TRF-TS programs director or the section head. The program manager will approve the request through eGrants by changing the request status to “SR Approved”. Upon receiving this approval, the subgrantee may proceed with production. If the request is denied by TRF-TS, the subgrantee will be notified by receiving a status of the request stating “SR Denied”.

Once a subgrantee has produced and received an item, they must send one copy of the item to TRF-TS, unless otherwise requested.

For more information on the PI&E material production approval process, see the Supplemental Approvals Flow Chart.

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Local Participation Important

Participation at the local level is important to the effectiveness of statewide campaigns. TRF-TS will develop a plan for conducting campaigns that includes the role of the TSSs and other local organizations.

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Outside-of-TxDOT Participation

TxDOT should include other organizations in promotions and campaigns. These groups may include police departments, schools, non-profit groups, businesses, and subgrantees.

When other organizations receive material from TxDOT to conduct activities or participate in promotions, they will be required to fulfill obligations for maintaining distribution records and report such distribution to TxDOT and return any leftover materials. These requirements should be fully discussed with the organizations prior to conducting events.

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Obtaining PI&E Material

District Locations. TxDOT TRF-TS will notify TSSs each time PI&E material is produced. In the case of promotional items developed with federal or non-district allocated state funds, a detailed plan for distribution, including interactive activities, will be required.

TRF-TS notification to the TSSs will indicate:

  • the item
  • quantities
  • the expected delivery date.

Due to funding limitations, orders from the TSSs and statewide subgrantees may exceed the TRF-TS PI&E material inventory. In this event, TRF-TS will use the guidelines shown in the following table to distribute the materials.

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District Size

Number of Districts

Population

Percent of Distribution

Small

7

1 – 300,000

15%

Medium

9

300,000 – 600,000

25%

Large

9

more than 600,000

35%

Division

N/A.

N/A

25%

Example: The seven small districts are allocated 15% of the available materials. The 15% allocation is then divided by 7, the number of small districts, to determine the amount of materials each district will receive.



The 25% of available materials set aside for the division (TRF-TS) is used for TSS reorder requests, statewide projects, press kickoff events, other division requests, etc.

Outside Organizations. Outside organizations may receive material from TRF-TS to conduct their own activities or to enhance TRF-TS activities. To do so, the organization should contact either the TSS or TRF-TS headquarters and fill out any required form. In receiving PI&E material, the organization must agree to track all material distributed and ensure that the items are used for the purposes intended.

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District Inventory

Each TSS will be responsible for developing material inventory guidelines for all PI&E items. These guidelines should include coordination with other district employees who receive, store, maintain, or distribute items.

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Receiving Materials

Upon receipt of PI&E materials, the TxDOT TSS will verify that:

  • the quantity is correct as reported by the source
  • the vendor has met all packaging and shipping requirements
  • items are in satisfactory condition and not damaged
  • items have arrived when expected.

For items produced outside of TxDOT, the TSS must fill out a receiving report and return it to TRF-TS. Instructions for this will be sent out in the distribution and delivery notice. For material printed within TxDOT, no receiving report is required, but the district will verify the quantity received.

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Inventory Records

TSSs, subgrantees, and outside organizations will maintain records of all PI&E materials received and distributed. Subgrantees and outside organizations will turn these records over to TxDOT at the conclusion of the activity. These records will include:

  • items received
  • who received the items
  • quantity distributed
  • purpose or activity
  • target audience
  • interactive activity (for promotional items).

The PI&E Materials Distribution form, described under the subheading “ Forms” later in this section, is an integral part of the inventory.

This record should be maintained until the supply of the material is depleted and then kept in the office for four (4) years after the project ends or until any disputes are resolved.

Requests to districts for PI&E materials should be in writing. Districts will keep such requests on file. Whenever possible, the district should also obtain a letter from the person receiving the items reporting on the use of the items.

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Forms

The following table explains the various forms used for keeping records, fulfilling orders, and reporting on PI&E activities.

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Form Name

Purpose

Inventory Log Sheet (required)

Filled out by the district or subgrantee upon receipt of material by TRF-TS or a district. Allows for entries when material is distributed.

PI&E Material Distribution Form (as required)

Used when quantities of 100 or more are distributed to individuals or organizations.

Pledges such as the Sober Road Trip Pledge Signup (recommended)

Used when distributing promotional items at special events, such as spring break beach promotions, rest stops, health fest booths, etc.



All PI&E Forms are located on the eGrants Help Page.

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Professional Service Contracts and Subcontracts

Contracts and subcontracts for professional services must include information related to the issues raised in this section including material approval, distribution lists, and reporting on activities.

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Sources for PI&E Material

There are several resources for obtaining PI&E material, including TxDOT TRF-TS, district purchases or in-house productions, other state agencies, organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses, state subgrantees, or local organizations. Although distribution lists are only required for material received from TRF-TS, it is advisable to maintain and track all material received, no matter the source.

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PI&E Workgroup

A PI&E workgroup has been established comprised of TRF-TS and other division staff. The group meets at least annually, usually after the beginning of the fiscal year; conducts planning for statewide and district-managed grants; and provides recommendations regarding PI&E materials to TRF-TS.

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