This work shows what 9th and 10th graders found out about people's cultural perceptions of mobility issues. Students worked on a campaign to show that being safe on the roads is an act of self-responsibility.
During several classes, we discussed how our mindset affects the decisions we make in terms of our behavior on the roads: how fast to go in a school area, when to cross the street (regardless of whether the traffic light is red for pedestrians), why we might reply to a text message while driving on the highway, etcetera. During these discussions, we said that our mindset could affect the way we perceive our actions ‒ no matter what information we have around. In other words, we think about ourselves as victims, not as responsible people, so every situation (incident or accident) becomes a difficult situation in which a solution is far away.
One of our ideas was to critically evaluate the way people think; to do so, a survey was designed with questions about: age, residence, mobility area, transportation use, reactions in a given road situation, and perceptions about responsibility, especially in three areas of the city, El Poblado, Laureles and Downtown (these are the biggest areas in terms of people's mobility). We found that people have a negative perception of authority institutions related to mobility control and security assistance (National Police and Road Security Agents). Perceptions were that these agencies are not doing their job of protecting people and assuring safe road infrastructures. However, at the same time, there were some people who wanted to be ‘forgiven’ rather than sanctioned when their errors affected the security of other drivers and pedestrians. Therefore, it is possible to say that we are more ready to judge others' actions and attitudes without mercy, but are less critical when evaluating our own mistakes and misconceptions, so there is no coherence in our thoughts and our actions, which reduces any possibility of having a proper road culture.
According to the results if our initial inquiries, we started preparing a strategy to make people rethink their effect on road security and mobility. That was how KRASH was created: a campaign to help people reflect on the misconception that alcohol and drugs are the only factors affecting road safety. For this campaign mindfulness was necessary, for safety while driving, walking or using our public transportation system.
This campaign includes:
- A logo - "Smart People for Safety Roads". We believe that it is not just about having safe roads; it is also about having a ‘safety culture’ based on putting yourself in another's place. This is the first time we are showing our logo; it has not yet been shared on Facebook or Twitter because we wanted to release it with this story.
- A video clip: The idea was to show that daily situations could be the start of a tragedy whenever we are not completely driving or walking safely. As we said, we wanted to show that when we are not thinking properly and focusing on one thing when on the street, we run a greater risk of provoking or suffering an accident.
- Slogans: "It's just Psycho", "Smart People for Safety Roads" and our campaign name are like "thinking pills" to be spread among the city, in order to make people stop for a while and reflect on the impact their actions have on every "random" situation. In general, the slogans have been accepted by other students and teachers, and we have shared some of them via Twitter (using our teacher's account).
- A hashtag for shared tips on Facebook and Twitter (#KrashCampaignTNS): This is the hashtag to track what we share on Facebook and Twitter. It is really new, so we need to work more to get more Retweets and shares.
- A website (still in construction): We are working on a website to display everything we have done so far. We plan to publish it as soon as we check that everything is OK.
This project has been something new for us because, although we have the Road Security Project as an institutional initiative, we had not worked at being active agents of change. Normally, as students, we think that certain situations do not concern us, so we do not care about them, when we are really affected in one way or another. This has been exciting and challenging. We hope that we can participate again next year!