More than 35% of car accidents are caused under the influence of alcohol while driving. Our team wanted to take this opportunity to make a statement and prevent further accidents. To raise awareness, we created a video, a song and we made a proposal to our town hall. We want people to understand that what we learn in driving school isn’t just to pass the exam but an important rule to be alive.
We focused our project on road safety in specific on driving under the influence. We acknowledged that in Spain a lot of people drink alcohol and before we enter the core of our project, we’ll give an overview of the alcohol consume in our country. We learned that 75% of minors consume alcohol before the legal drinking age which is 18 years and above. If we would convert this 75% in real numbers this would be equal to 322.900 teenagers. When we look at a bigger scale Spain is classified as the 28th country amongst 191 countries that consumes the most alcohol above the age of 15 which means Spain is on the top of the list.
To have a better understanding of the focus of our project, we are going focus mainly on people around the age of 16 and above. The legal age of driving a vehicle in Spain starts at the age of 16 in which it's permitted to ride a motorcycle and at the age of 18 it’s legal to drive a car. Let’s take a look at the following statistics: in Spain around 68% of teenagers at the age of 16 up until 18 have consumed alcohol and in the case of people above the age of 18, 22% have drank more than recommended. Now we have a general understanding of the statistics in Spain related to alcohol consumption, we can understand that due to this huge amount of alcohol intake there are many risks involved. One of the most critical is being drunk driving, in the case of Spain 35% of car accidents are caused under the influence of alcohol.
Now let's take a more local perspective, our team is from Sant Cugat del Vallès, a city located at the northwest of Barcelona, Spain. In our city it is usual to go clubbing from the age of 15 and up, this is when we came across the heart of the problem. A lot of younger people drive home drunk after clubbing as in our case the clubs are located on a 28 minute walking distance from the train station. Many teenagers that go to these clubs live at the surroundings of Sant Cugat such as Barcelona, Valldoreix and Bellaterra which means that most of these teenagers go home by train. There two main reasons why teenagers in our city prefer to take a car back home. One is the 2,3 km walking distance from clubs to the train station. Many teenagers don’t want to walk this distance after going out all night. The other reason is that there aren’t enough taxis to provide rides to every person. These two main problems increase the risks of teenagers carpooling or taking a car when they drunk.
Our initiatives for this campaign started off acknowledging the alcohol conduct whilst driving. When we knew the core of the problem we set out a plan and a goal: trying to decrease this 35% of car accidents under the influence of alcohol. To achieve our purpose we defined two main objectives: make people aware of the situation and set out a plan for our community to be able to decrease this percentage.
Let’s first talk about people awareness towards this topic. We first wanted to know if people above the age of 16 where aware of the basic rules of not drinking under the age of 18 and the rules of not drinking alcohol before driving. To be able to get these statistics on paper we set out a poll with 4 fundamental questions:
- Do you know anyone who has driven while under the influence of alcohol?
- Do you think that the number of road traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers has increased in recent years?
- Do you know the percentage of alcohol you can intake for it to be legal to drive?
- How long do you think it takes for the alcohol to leave your system?
We posted this poll on social media to get as many teenagers participating and we ended up with 300 answers. We concluded that many teenagers do now that it's illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. We also saw a pattern of which teenagers aren’t aware of the amount of alcohol that is legal to intake before driving or how long it takes for the alcohol to have no effect on your body. After acknowledging these statistics we started with the campaign.
The campaign is first and foremost based on creating awareness. We created a video demonstrating the dangerous and consequences of drunk driving and the impact this has on family members and friends. We also created a song with lyrics with our message written by three classmates that explains why you shouldn’t drink and what you should do instead. To get this message across we requested our school, “Agora Sant Cugat International School”, to upload our video on Facebook page and to show it in English classes to reach the students and create awareness.
We also wanted to be able to help our community by providing a plan to narrow down the amount of traffic accidents due to alcohol. This plan is based on a bus tour. We know we can’t prohibit people from drinking alcohol as we can’t control the intake. We also know we can’t be able to enforce more police around the club area. Therefore we came up with a solution: the bus tour! We requested a plan to the town hall that allows teenagers to get home safely, by providing a bus tour that takes teenagers from the club to different areas in and around Sant Cugat. We created a possible plan for the bus tour to better explain the request we were doing. In our plan we assured the bus stop at the train station to allow teenagers to take a train home. This way they don’t have to choose between walking 28 minutes or getting in a car with someone drunk, as the buses allow teenagers to be dropped off closer to home.