‘Safer You, Safer Me, Safe is Everybody’. This attitude in youth will alter the course of numerous lives and will build a safe community. This can be achieved if teenagers are made aware of the rules of driving and the road signs.
Road Safety is well integrated within the school curriculum as our school is a part of the ‘Steer to Safety Programme’ and ‘Champions of Change’, an educational endeavor of Michelin India Ltd., PVR Nest and Delhi Traffic Police. Participation in the ‘Your Ideas Your Initiatives’ International Challenge 2015-16 was a motivation for us to reiterate our commitment to road safety and involve our peer group in a more broad based campaign. In the brainstorming session, the following issues emerged which were worth consideration.
According to a survey, more and more teens indulge in underage driving. Students drive two-wheeled vehicles and one in five drivers is below 18 years of age. This is less than the age of valid license holders. Moreover, they do not learn driving from an expert or at a training institute. According to the available statistics, in metropolitan cities 56% of teenagers rely on their parents to learn how to drive and they have an accident within their first year of driving.
Other factors that lead to serious injuries are carrying an excess of passengers, weaving in and out of traffic and not wearing a helmet while driving.
In such a scenario it becomes necessary that pre-teens and teens are sensitized about road safety norms and road signs.
Other issues which emerged during the brainstorming session were the difficulty of young children to judge speed and distance, and children playing on the road while waiting for their ride. This was observed by the transport lead and the teachers. This ignorance of safety norms necessitated that safety habits needed to be deeply inculcated in the children’s attitudes, behaviors and practices.
A holistic approach was required to handle these problems. If students knew about road signs and traffic rules, they would be safer on the roads.
A survey of stakeholders needed to be conducted to broaden the base of a road safety drive. A questionnaire for parents would help us to know how aware parents were of road signs and driving rules. Moreover, if parents pledged their support to adherence to traffic rules, this would strengthen the school’s initiative.
Involvement of management, the principal, teachers and other mentors would help us to solve the problem from different perspectives.
Safe drivers, safe commuters and safe pedestrians build a safe community. If we could achieve this goal, we would reduce by 40% the number of teen deaths which occur on the roads. Moreover, we could prevent injuries which are caused due to violating norms such as speeding, driving without a seat belt, talking on a cell phone or ignoring the road signs.
To spearhead the project, students divided into groups with the task of discouraging underage driving and spreading awareness about road signs. Age appropriate activities were organized such as:
- A Board Game was designed so that students develop an awareness of road traffic norms in a fun- filled way. Target groups were classes VI, VII & VIII. Students played a board game, similar to Snakes and Ladders. Every number was based on traffic rules followed in India.
- An online game, “Buzzing Roads”, (link: bit.ly/23Gs6OG) was designed by students to entice 12 to 14 year olds to learn about road safety norms at the click of a mouse. Our school’s computer science department uploaded the game on the system and students were encouraged to play the game in the last ten minutes of their study period. This fun-filled activity made learning more sustained and convincing.
- A questionnaire for parents was designed by students to identify risky behaviours on the roads. Parents pledged their support by attempting the questionnaire and filling up the acknowledgement form to strengthen the initiative of the students of SRDAV Public School.
- A road safety display was made at the school reception for the parents to make them aware of the importance of driving within prescribed limits and following safety norms.
- A mobile app, “Traffic Log”, (link: bit.ly/24JGvMC) was designed by a group of students to encourage the use of public transport, such as the metro, to reach the school.
- For connectivity between home and the metro station, a proposal was made for bicycle use available through a “Cycles on Hire” system. Vendors would be invited to submit a quotation for providing cycles for rent available to users by swiping a smartcard. This proposal was selected by Michelin India Ltd. and PVR Nest and Delhi Traffic Police. It is in the second stage of implementation, as infrastructure development is required in the city. Dedicated lanes for cyclists need to be provided for ensuring safety. However appreciating the logistics of the project, students were selected as master trainers for fellow students of the school.
- Students were selected for a film making workshop and made a film “Bad Hair Day” (Link : https://youtu.be/AMJmxtRX00Y) under the guidance of noted film maker, V.K Raina. This film was screened by PVR Nest and Michelin India Ltd. in PVR Cinema for viewing on April 18, 2016. The film focused on the teenage habit of avoiding helmet use while driving. The screening was for the benefit of the student community of different schools of Delhi and NCR.
- A poster making competition on safe road practices was held wherein students prepared posters to spread the message of adopting safe road habits.
- The number of students using the metro increased to 20% during 2015-16 and school bus use by students is at 20%; 60% still use private vans and personal vehicles to get to school.
- The school has made a provision for students to park their bicycles on the school premises to encourage using this means of transport.
- The number of students using motorbikes is almost negligible among 11 to 12 year olds. The number of students using them in the 14 to 17 year age group has been reduced.
- To further reduce these numbers a change of attitudes is required by students and parents as well.
- Efforts are being made to accomplish the goal of ‘Safer You, Safer Me, Safe is Everybody’.