The Road Safety Club at Saint Joseph School is a unique club that serves to help and improve our community. Our main mission was to raise awareness, among the 3S students (17-18 years old), of the danger of driving to prom.
Nowadays, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death. About 1.2 million people worldwide are killed in road traffic accidents each year. In order to decrease the percentages of death from car accidents in Lebanon, we, the Road Safety Club gathered on Friday, November 15, 2019, tackled various problems that are present in our community, and decided to raise awareness about driving safely to prevent 18-year old teens from getting into fatal car crashes since teens are less cautious than adults and are unable to recognize hazardous driving conditions especially when they first start to drive. One big event where teenagers are most likely to get into car crashes is their prom night due to driving under the influence of alcohol or simply inattentiveness. Therefore, we decided to highlight that day and draw the attention of the teens and their parents to this problem in collaboration with a Lebanese NGO to help us raise awareness about underage driving. After long research on the Lebanese road safety NGOs, we chose “Kunhadi”. "Kunhadi" was founded after the death of Hadi in a car crash at the age of 18. This is why it is the best NGO to help us with our campaign. We contacted Mrs. Lena Gebrane, the founder of Kunhadi, she was so happy to collaborate with us and on Friday, November 29, 2019, Mrs. Gebrane came to Saint Joseph School. She talked to us about the dangers of teenage driving. To raise awareness, the students played a game where one student had to put on goggles that resemble the experience of being drunk to explain how a person’s sight range decreases when he or she is drunk.
In order to accomplish our mission, On February 22, 2020, a Lebanese driving school “on-road driving school “ visited Saint Joseph School and educated the road safety club students about the dangers of driving as a teen. They started their awareness session with a PowerPoint presentation about the factors required for driving: the physical and mental states of by the driver, and the technical details of the car. They followed with a very detailed explanation about some of the driving laws and rules here in Lebanon. After that, each student was to drive on a car simulator (game-like machine to teach driving) guided by the driving school instructor. While using the driving simulator, each person goes through a series of tests which include trying to use the phone as a distraction. While we were using the phone and using the simulator, we noticed how our speed increased, and how the direction of the car changed. Therefore, if this were to happen in real life on the road, there would be a huge risk of an accident. Finally, the students gathered the information they learned that day and made signs and banners for road safety and awareness to use it during our event.
Sadly, Lebanon has passed through several obstacles this year; two of the most drastic problems it has gone through are the economic crisis and the coronavirus. Our schools, shops, restaurants, and many touristic sites were closed due to the virus. In our normal days, we used to meet after school or on Saturdays to attend sessions concerning road safety; however, during this crisis, we have been limited in our movement which has led to our communicating through Zoom since the SJS road safety project is important and must be done even in these hard times. We translated our visual experience into a visual presentation. We continued our work online using office 365 and Google forms to prepare an online event in which we will include an interactive flyer as our students are getting more familiar with the online tools. The product included testimonies from the road safety students who experienced the virtual driving and had many accidents during the simulation. Also, we included a small quiz/ survey to test the readers' knowledge about the road rules and regulations after finishing the presentation. Our project was very successful; a lot of students checked our presentation and filled our survey. 60% of the survey questions were answered correctly. At the end of the day, we educated teens about the dangers of underage driving.