Our students carried out research and a subsequent awareness campaign against the use of mobile phones while driving.
Overusing mobile phones in everyday life and when driving increases the probability of having a car crash, as it is a distraction for both drivers and pedestrians.
People who have a mobile phone usually use it while driving or walking on the streets, which has a global effect on the increased rate of road accidents. Driving is a task that requires full attention, as any distraction affects the driver’s ability to perform safely such a task. Talking on the phone, regardless of the phone type used (hand-held or hands-free), diverts people’s attention and increases the risks of being involved in a road crash. It is commonplace to see people texting on their mobiles while they are crossing the streets, without paying attention to traffic, or so engrossed in the music they are listening to on their MP3 players that they do not look for traffic when crossing. Detached from their surrounding, they inattentively walk along the streets without hearing any cars coming or honking at them. Although pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users, it is true that they also commit offenses and cause risk situations by crossing at red lights, not at crosswalks, or running. It is important to look for traffic when crossing and be attentive to your surroundings, no matter whether you are driving or walking.
Thus, students from our school – who are not drivers but are aware of how mobile phones are used everyday by themselves, their friends and parents – carried out an investigation into the influence of mobile phones on road situations.
Such research consisted of:
- Surveys to infer the respondents’ dependency on mobile phones
- Observations of both driver and pedestrian behavior in high traffic areas
- Enquiries into police station records of road accidents caused by the use of mobile phones.
As part of the initiatives to deal with the problem identified in their research, our students delivered a lecture on the topic in a primary school (Escuela N°6 Mariano Moreno) in Santa Fe city. They talked about their experience (surveys, observations and enquiries) and proposed a road safety campaign. They also invited students from that primary school to participate in a logo drawing contest about not using mobile phones when driving.
The contest had two phases, the first involved drawing the logos and the second one choosing and rewarding the most original work.
As a final step in the campaign, stickers with the winning logo were made to stick on the cars circulating around the primary school. A follow-up activity of our project consists of a wall mural painting of the winning logo by third-year students from our secondary school in a public square of the city where both schools are located.
At the end of the project, students successfully achieved their goals and strengthened their sense of solidarity and caring for others, by respecting road safety rules and sharing their knowledge and experience with students from another school in the interests of the whole community.