Drink Less Think more is the name of the project conducted by our school team with the aim to decrease the number of car accidents of young drivers by raising awareness about the problem of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Having entered this competition, we formed a team of students and teachers and decided to do some research to find out more about most common problems related to road safety in our community. The first thing we did was statistical data research:
Based on data published by the police department of our county and data which we gathered in cooperation with Safe roads association for youth traffic safety we concluded that one of the biggest problems related to road safety in our local community is:
- Young drivers being injured or killed in accidents caused by fast and reckless driving, which is commonly linked with alcohol consumption.
Since alcohol is the main subject of many prevention programs that are being conducted in our school together with other prevention programs like addiction and risky behaviour prevention, in our project we decided to address other issues as well and contribute to the prevention of both risky behaviour among the youth and raising awareness about road safety, with special emphasis on young drivers.
The most important information we came across while investigating this subject is related to road safety which was reported to be getting worse in our county in the first three months of the year 2020. However, due to the situation caused by the corona virus, road safety has somewhat gotten better which is proven by the data collected in May, although it is still obvious that most accidents are caused by young drivers (up to 24 years of age), which proves that the problem is still present and that it is necessary to implement all kinds of activities to prevent it from happening.
We have also researched data presented by World Health Organization in Global status report on road safety 2018 which says road traffic injuries are currently the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years, signaling a need for a shift in the current child and adolescent health agenda which, to date, has largely neglected road safety.
So, the next thing we decided to do was to conduct a survey among the students of our school. We wanted to review the opinions of our students regarding road safety starting from the hypothesis that young drivers are not enough careful and responsible in traffic.
The survey was run in April 2020 on 84 students of the Technical school in Bjelovar (3rd and 4th grade). 45% of the students who took the survey have passed the driving test and have a valid driver’s licence. 71,8% of those students say they drive their cars every day. The most important piece of information we collected from the survey shows that 76,9% of students have never driven while intoxicated, but there is a significant percentage of students (15,4%) who say they often drive under the influence of alcohol, which we think is alarming The information on non-drivers is also worrisome and says that 8.3% of students often ride with drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.
The collected data shows that our hypothesis was confirmed and the conclusions we have drawn include the following:
- Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for young drivers
- Prevention and education programmes on road safety and traffic rules are insufficient
The overall results we have gotten from the survey confirm that the youth (drivers and non-drivers) are not careful and responsible enough in traffic and that it is important for us to pay more attention to that problem. While thinking about how to encourage our students as well as other people in our society to respect the rules of the road, we decided to make a few things. Unfortunately, since there is a global pandemic going on most of the activities were replaced and adapted to the current conditions, so we did the following:
- filming a video
One of the ways to reach a big number of people was to record and upload a film which shows situations in which two friends decide to be responsible and not drive while under the influence. 6 students were involved in the making of the film: one student wrote the scenario, another was in charge of record and the third one was the editor. We uploaded the video onto school websites, Safe roads association for youth traffic safety, Vimeo and Youtube.
- illustrating video scenes / making a digital comic book strip / online exhibition
The story from the video was complemented by illustrations done by a student studying construction in our school. Illustrations and the following text were published into a digital comic book strip which was also available to students on the school website as well as in the virtual classrooms. Within our project, under the leadership of a mentor in the construction field, one of the tasks in the online class for students studying construction was to make a drawing that depicts different situations from the traffic safety field. Those student mini-projects were graded as special tasks from their respective professions and the drawings were organized in an online exhibition that is available to all students within 16 virtual classroom channels.
- online lecture / presentation for senior students
In collaboration with Safe roads association for youth traffic safety we organized a lecture which we, unfortunately, due to the corona virus situation, had to reschedule for the next school year (a lecture with a practical part for students is planned as well), but we managed to organize online lectures for seniors and published presentations in 4 virtual classrooms.
- making / distributing flyers
Within our campaign we even made flyers with the cover photo and the slogan of our project, and we organized a distribution campaign to hand them out to our citizens. While distributing flyers we obeyed all the recommended measures of protection from the corona virus and wore masks and gloves.
- publishing material on on school website / Facebook / Youtube / local newspapers
Having finished with all the activities (within our capabilities because of special circumstances), we published all our materials on the school web page, school Facebook, Safe road association for youth traffic safety page, Vimeo and YouTube channel. We also gave a statement for the local newspapers which published an article about our project, thus reaching out to a broader audience.
Hopefully, all the activities taken, both inside and outside of our school, have encouraged young people to act responsibly in traffic. We also hope that our project made an impact on our community and thus contributed to fewer car accidents in the future and traffic safety in general.