“Your Whole Life in a few Minutes” is the name of our campaign, it symbolizes the high risk of death or injuries that can be caused by a few minutes of distraction with the cell phone while driving.
Before we started our project properly, we decided to consider our local scenario: the city of Maringá (Brazil). Being a growing urban environment, with approximately 400,000 inhabitants, there are notorious traffic-related complications, which can be observed in our daily lives. Then, we researched images of the city more than fifty years ago and compared it with current images, conceiving a notion of contrast. Next, we discussed as a team what would be the biggest problems involving ideas of mobility and road safety in our environment. We then agreed that one of the focuses of our approach would be the relationship between mobile phone use, driver distraction and accidents.
In our research we found out that 20% of Brazilian drivers claim to use their mobile phone while driving; this behavior is the third leading cause of traffic fatalities; there are approximately 150 deaths per day, or more than 54,000 deaths per year!
Initially, we intended to personally interview city dwellers to obtain data that justified the importance of our initiatives. This was not possible due to complications related to the pandemic scenario. Thus, we created an online form through the Microsoft Forms platform where citizens of Maringá could answer some questions, most of them regarding the problem of using cell phones while driving. We collected 95 answers. Of our sample, some results are striking:
- 40% of people use cell phone while driving
- 78% people know someone who uses constantly the cell phone while driving
- 60% people think the use of cell phones while driving is one of the most critical problems in road safety.
After our research and findings we began thinking of initiatives that could reduce the rate of accidents caused by the use of cell phone and increase the safety of road users. And then our group's name came up: “Your Whole Life in a few Minutes”. It symbolizes the high risk of death or injury that a few minutes of distraction can cause.
Our project will include two main actions: the development of an app to limit the use of the cell phone and an awareness campaign.
The App: "Your whole app" – the name is reference to the name of the team. We designed an App model that has two main use options:
- Emergency: The user, before driving, programs the application by choosing the mode and the journey time. In emergency mode, notifications will be omitted if messages are received. When someone calls the user, they will be informed that he is busy. The driver's mobile phone, when receiving calls from contacts previously allowed, will only vibrate (discouraging distraction).
- Do not disturb: In this mode, the user will not receive calls or message notifications. Anyone who tries to contact the user will be warned that he is driving.
Both modes allow the driver to make calls if they are strictly necessary, but an alert message will be displayed to remind the dangers of making calls while driving.
The awareness campaign: It involves a video and the use of Instagram account.
- The video: to raise awareness of the danger of using cell phone while driving, we created a video with multimedia material. This video starts with shocking images of an accident caused by texting. In our video we show important information of traffic accidents provoked by using cell phone. We also though it would be interesting to address the growth of the city of Maringá and share images of the city in the 50’s/60’s, with some testimonial of elderly people who lived the changes in traffic development. This was also a way to get closer to our citizens to share our core message and make them aware of how road safety is influenced by their risk or responsible behaviors.
- Instagram: We posted images of the city in 50’s and 60’s, with some curiosities.
With our campaign we want to make people aware that there is always someone waiting for us and a whole life can be ruined by some minutes, or even some seconds of distraction. Our intention is to keep feeding our Instagram account, since we believe that raising awareness actions targeting the road safety education are needed to reduce accidents and save lives.