"ROAD RAGE: AWARENESS DRIVE" is a project developed by the students of Ahlcon International School (Delhi, India) with a vision "To sensitize students and community members regarding the destructive impact of aggressive driving behavior".
In the year 2013, more than 70 road rage cases were reported in the capital of India. More than hundreds of people die in road crashes each year and an additional are injured and disabled. Nationwide, more than half of the traffic deaths each year occur in the age group of 15-44 year olds.
One newspaper states, "Delhi senior police officials have stated that in 2013, 36 road rage incidents were reported and in 2014 by August, there were already more than 20 cases registered. The PCR receives almost 10-12 calls every day on minor scuffles on the roads of Delhi. Short-tempered drivers have made the roads of Delhi very dangerous and unsafe for others". These issues are being referred to as "ROAD RAGE INCIDENTS".
We cringe when we hear about vehicle crashes, especially when a death is involved, and we quickly call it an “accident”. But is the situation that simple or maybe we need to rethink how we label vehicle crashes?
From running red lights to speeding and cutting off cars, from use of offensive gestures to violence and even killing someone, this regular day-to-day scenario on Delhi roads makes us aghast and shows that drivers in the city probably have no regard for others or for the laws.
Questions arise, ‘Why are we so aggressive towards each other? Why are we so frustrated? Why aren’t we afraid and compassionate towards others? The bottom line is that WE are responsible for what we do and say.
Intensive research and discussions were held between students and the teacher-coordinator discussing the underlying reality and intensity of the problem, reasons for the occurrence of the same, and what are the preventive measures to be taken. Then, students at Ahlcon International School initiated an "AWARENESS DRIVE : AVOID RAGE AND BE SAFE", as they believe that the need of the hour is to first realize that ‘our actions’ can have life-impacting consequences and that ‘our words and comments’ have the power to destroy the dreams and hopes of others.
The whole idea of the awareness drive was to first analyze the intensity of the situation, develop insight into the situation and then take up measures to create awareness among both school and community members.
Road rage is one of the nagging problems that the people of Delhi face, due to problems of temperament. After extensive research, it was concluded that most of these types of incidents occur mainly due to short tempers, abuse of power, negligence on the road, and speeding. Thus, it was realized that this is an increasing problem which needs attention and the initiation of immediate preventive measures.
We then conducted several activities within the school premises to involve the students and teachers and give them insight into this topic.
A poster making and slogan writing activity was held for classes of ninth and tenth on the theme "ROAD RAGE: A MENACE" (class ninth) and "ROAD SAFETY: STOP RAGE AND BE SAFE" (class tenth), with their work beautiful depicting their own thoughts on the topic.
Each year, in the month of October, our school celebrates TRAFFIC SIGNAL DAY for the students of the pre-primary section. To reinforce the idea, students of class twelve created a "Road Safety Zone" displaying several traffic signals, zebra crossings, speed breaks, traffic policeman and so on. Also, to create effective learning, a short presentation of the zone was done for the teachers as well as the students.
This was not enough!! A workshop on "ROAD RAGE AND ROAD SAFETY" was organized for classes nine to twelve. The objective was to sensitize the students about the current scenario of road rage and road safety. Students of class twelve presented a street play on the theme of road rage.
The street play was followed by an OPEN HOUSE DISCUSSION on the topic: "In India, should the legal driving age be reduced from 18 to 16 years, or not?" The members of the discussion, students and teachers, participated enthusiastically. They put forward their opinions and also shared various shocking incidents related to road rage.
Since students were curious to know the about the gravity of the situation, they conducted an interview session with school bus drivers as well as the deputy commissioner of traffic., who focused on the current aggressive behavior of drivers, the need to rush on the roads, and the little respect not only for the law, but also for the life of others. Students, along with the concerned authorities, discussed various preventive measures that can be initiated at the grassroots level such as being patient and realizing that our actions have life-impacting consequences. Also, it was suggested that road safety should be incorporated as a part of the school curriculum and that laws should be more stringent.
In a world connected through internet, in order to spread our message across a wider audience, students initiated a BLOG: ROAD SAFETY AND MOBILITY and are using means of social networking. The idea of using the World Wide Web is to create awareness as much as possible and initiate a public discussion on the theme, so that a broader perspective of the same can be developed.