Investing in our drivers of tomorrow, this challenge promoted an opportunity to attend to the difficult and often unspoken need for road safety; the data is alarming but some work in the community has been done.
Understanding the importance for awareness and a need for greater road safety, the Brazilian Baptist School - Unit Bauru, joined the Renault educational program promoting Safety and Mobility for All.
The focus of all of ours activities was awareness on the road because we know that this makes the difference between one accident more - or one less - caused by driver error.
We conducted a project which lasted the whole school year; we highlighted actions that establish the link between theory and practice in everyday traffic. The ideas and initiatives which we present here represent only the first stage; others will be performed throughout the school year.
We started with the high school students, who were motivated by the results of the research on this subject, being in the passenger seat of a situation that affects us all in our daily lives. We became protagonists for an action which set out to reach participants from kindergarten, elementary school I and II and the municipal agency responsible for the traffic bureau of our city.(EMDURB).
Our ideas were the following:
1 - Teachers from various disciplines worked on traffic themes, ethics and citizenship to prepare students to begin the challenge of the contest. The 180 high school students held discussions on issues; notes on how to map targets were established. This preparation took place without students being told first of this contest, which allowed teachers to track the level of awareness on the subject.
2 -After that, the students were divided between those who would carry out the project (high school students) and those who would be reached by the project (kindergarten, elementary school I and II students).
3 – Then 180 high school students were set to meet with 950 students who would be reached by the awareness campaign, and the main objective of the challenge was set: inspiring all students to awaken awareness of road safety in their parents.
4. The high school student group began work. Using mobile phones, the students recorded risky situations or violations during the commute to and from school. With this first part of our survey complete, we could apply the first lesson: That transit does not just happen but is built on responsible or irresponsible attitudes!
5 - Elementary II students produced a survey of global, national, state and local data about mobility risks. With the data, they spread their knowledge to other students through school murals.
6 - As a result of the research and the specific classes on traffic, the high school students took an exam (on the subject: Insecurity, traffic irresponsibility!) The theme was strategically proposed in the exam because of its social impact.
7 – The students in charge of preparing the actions were guided in the process of selecting among the problems detected.
They listed some important points to be addressed in the campaign:
Individual responsibility in favor of the collective community (i.e.: Every driver needs to understand that he/she is responsible for the safety of all!)
8. Identification of the problems which can be solved through awareness. Specification of the problems to be addressed based on the critical points observed by students: double parking; using a cell phone while driving; disregarding the signs and crosswalks; provoking unnecessary risks by being careless;
9. Theme Preparation: Responsibility is the safety vehicle - reaching out to pedestrians and drivers on the responsibility of each. Students performed the preparation of a panel which they would paint in the main school building. This action took place in early May, as it is the national campaign for a safer traffic month: Yellow May!
10. School participation in the national initiative “Yellow May” using the campaign's impact symbol in conjunction with our actions.
11. An action plan was developed with the high school, called BatistAÇÃO (which sounds in Portuguese like Baptist Action), and along with the theme of the campaign, a symbol would be printed on t-shirts worn by the student members of the project leadership team.
12. Understanding that children have the power to influence attitudes, a parent awareness program became the projects number one objective. All parents and guardians received emails of the campaign and the actions performed.
13. All students from the school (from the kindergarten to high school) received flyers containing information about the National Campaign “Yellow May”, traffic information and information on the Decade for Action in Road Safety promoted by the United Nations. Flyers contained a survey on behavior in traffic situations. Each student was required to read the flyer with their parents, discuss the issue of traffic safety and answer the self-assessment questionnaire on responsible driving. When the students brought the survey back, each one of them received a campaign gift: a card saying “Best Driver Ever”
14. We started researching for the Science Fair, with the theme: With Science in Traffic (It sounds like awareness in traffic, in Portuguese), to continue with our project after our participation in the contest ended.
So, on a scale from macro to micro, we think globally but we act locally, beginning with positive actions in our school environment where over 1,500 people pass through daily, and we multiplied our network of influence to impact our entire city.
1- A school wide contest was held for all high school students to create the best texts on the issues. The best slogans were made into banners which were displayed in the three busiest intersections surrounding the school.
2 We responded to the students’ analysis about the importance of proper traffic signs; along with the Municipal Office Responsible for Traffic Engineering, we created a document containing a protocol for the revitalization of pedestrian crossings and traffic signs surrounding the school. The EMDURB (responsible body) approved the request but the action has not been performed yet.
3 Actions were carried out in partnership with EMDURB - which has a traffic education plan for children - and with the action plan prepared by our students to create awareness in the younger generation; kindergarten and elementary students took part, with puppets and music on traffic safety made by EMDURB.
4- We sent out 987 brochures on mobility awareness research to be conducted by students along with their parents (or guardians) on the theme of road behavior, as a self-assessment exercise. The results of the survey were favorable and the students who answered the entire questionnaire received a prize decal “Best Driver Ever” to put on their parents’ car!
5- The students of the high school in charge of visual impact, with the collaboration of students from elementary school II and the art teacher, created a campaign image displayed in the main corridor of the school through which around 1,300 people a day pass.
6- In conjunction with the Brazilian national campaign Yellow May, we had May leaflets in three main areas of the school building. The students from the high school action team, along with their teachers and the support of the EMDURB traffic team, delivered flyers and wore the campaign shirts and bands produced by the high school and elementary school II.
7- During this same act, we inaugurated the wall which displays our campaign images, where respect and responsibility are developed to insure better mobility for everyone!
8. Following these initiatives and actions, we plan to collect and compute the behavioral survey data and get feedback on the effects of our work.
9. We will continue wearing the campaign t-shirts and updating awareness banners with the slogans produced by the students, so that parents are always confronted by the visual impact of the project.
We have not finished our work yet. We have just completed the first stage of a project which will extend throughout 2016. Knowing that our ideas and initiatives go beyond this contest and can save lives motivates us to extend our actions beyond the competition and mobilize our annual project. The students have observed changes in the behavior of drivers near the school, noticing more respect is being shown. And students have become more observant and critical regarding issues of mobility, and are prepared to bring new ideas to implement in the next actions.
To sum up, we have promoted actions to activate awareness, heighten responsibility and calibrate a sense of citizenship!