There have been several accidents in the school area, close to the pedestrian crossing. Our project aims to draw attention on the importance of knowing the traffic rules and to make the road to school much safer for students .
Our school is at an equal distance between 2 big cities, Reghin and Târgu Mureș. Road traffic in the area is very heavy. To reach the school, students must cross the national road at high traffic hours. During school time, students are required to leave the building, and go to the sports base, which is at a distance of 5 km from the place where the students attend classes. In order to attend the physical education classes, the students have to cross a national road. The pedestrian crossing is positioned immediately after a curve. Visibility in the area is low and there are no traffic lights or speed reduction elements. One of the problems students face on regular bases is related to their safety on the way to school or back home, and their safe move to the sports base.
Our research took place both in the classroom and on the field, in partnership with the Local Police and we used different techniques: observation, document study, case study, opinion poll. We collected data about the number of accidents near the school ( because these data are not public in Romania, we collected photos, we studied the online archives of local newspapers and we discovered that there have been 7 accidents in the school area this school year (September-March 2020). We studied the traffic signs in the area, we observed other similar spaces and the appropriate signage for such places.
We also did some questionnaires and statistics regarding the level of knowledge of our colleagues on safety on public roads. The questionnaires were given to each class leader and on the school website. For primary school students, the questionnaire was read by the teacher and they responded by raising their hands or by explanations. The questionnaires were completed by 57% of the students of the school (we have 270 students). After analyzing the questionnaires, we found out that most students know the rules of the road. A negative aspect encountered was the use of unequipped bicycles on the public road. 35% of students aged 11-13 answered that they ride a bike on the national road even if they are not allowed.
The school was closed due to Covid and our campaign included offline and online activities. We wanted to involve as many people as possible, the school management, parents and teachers. We considered these activities would be more important if we could bring guests who could tell us about what we do not know yet.
In collaboration with the police teams, we organized interactive activities and debates in which students could learn the meaning and importance of responsible behaviors to prevent accidents and promote road safety. They learned about what responsible behavior means and how to prevent accidents. They organized debates on preventive behavior and road safety.
We did drawings, zoom sessions, pictures, interviews. We also did awareness activities for our colleagues about road safety and first aid. After these activities, we convinced the service teachers and primary school teachers to wear reflective vests when they accompany the children when they go home.To get home, students must cross a busy national road. The teachers decided to cross the street at 12 o'clock. Many times the cars didn't stop, so we introduced the reflective vests together with the school principal. They are very successful.
With the help of an architect we made a presentation with new traffic signs near the school, which will also be sent to the local police.
While promoting the importance of preventive behavior on public roads and road safety, we developed life skills, communication and digital skills too.
Also, we have become agents of change, preventive agents who supported the involvement of other colleagues and teachers in transforming the road and the school into a safe space for students and teachers.