Road safety isn’t just about laws and regulations, it’s also about respecting ourselves, our community and our country. The students decided to address both aspects in their initiative – the practical side of road safety, as well as the values that go along with it.
In Morocco, citizens are plagued by traffic accidents. An average of 10 people die and 200 are seriously injured every day on Morocco’s roads, and these numbers are rising. The five students at Ibn Al Yassmine High School began to question why so many accidents were taking place. According to their research, they found that excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, and a lack of respect for traffic laws are among the primary causes of accidents on Moroccan roads. They further concluded that a lack of education was the true source of the problem, and also the cause of an increasing number of polluted, trash-covered areas!
Behavior like reckless driving and littering, the students thought, are a sign that the community is lacking certain values and general respect for their society. They decided to develop an awareness raising campaign that would educate people on the practical side of road safety, like laws, regulations, and the difference between safe and risky behavior; as well as the values that go along with being a responsible citizen.
They thought about all the different values they’d like to strengthen and came up with some key messages, like being an example for children and respecting the environment. They also wanted to share the idea that a respected person respects the law, and that each person must be committed to thier country.
Once they had developed their key messages, the students decided to use various methods to get them out to the people. They would speak to people on the street, go door to door in their neighborhoods to diffuse information, and create a multimedia presentation about the culture of road safety and mobility that they would present to the government. They also used tools like social media, a blog, and newsletters to further diffuse information.
They placed a special focus on educating citizens at schools, since children and young people are the most vulnerable to road accidents. At their high school, they shared information collected from different sources with 2000 students and 120 teachers and administrators. They also shared this information at primary and middle schools, adapted for the different age groups.
Moreover, they arranged a day with the traffic police from Hay Hassani Police Department when they would give a presentation about Casablanca traffic. They also worked closely with the parents’ association to help ensure the whole initiative would run smoothly - and get the whole community involved.
Finally, they worked in collaboration with Hay Hassani Délégation (the Ministry of Education Representative) and the Moroccan Association of Character Education (MACE) to implement an action plan to promote and enhance the culture of road safety through moral education at school. The curriculum includes topics like respecting pedestrians, the road, and the environment; being responsible; and being a good citizen.
As we can see, road safety is about much more than just following the rules!