Our project objective was generating awareness of road safety in drivers and pedestrians.
We are 3rd grade students from the Instituto Ballester school in Buenos Aires. In the "Construcción Ciudadana" class ("Citizenship Awareness") we discussed about the topic Road Safety in Argentina.
Argentina has one of the highest death rates of traffic accidents: in average, 19 people die daily. There are 6,627 fatalities per year (2019) and consequently, approximately 120,000 people get injured in different degrees of seriousness and thousands become disabled. The economic losses of chaotic traffic and traffic accidents exceed US $ 10 billion annually. It is as if a passenger plane crashes every week, killing about 130 people each time. Traffic accidents in Argentina are the first cause of death in people under 35, and the third part of Argentinian population. Death rate is extremely high, reaching 8 to 10 times more fatalities than in most developed countries, in relation to the number of vehicles on the road.
We tried to focus on the main causes of traffic accidents in Argentina: speed is one of the principal causes of death in traffic accidents. Many Argentinians consider that they do not drive fast at 120 km / h, in confrontation to the fact that driving at more than 90 km / h a vehicle become less and less governable and increases the risk of death for its occupants. Another relevant cause of death in traffic accidents is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. At least one over two deaths in road accidents in the world is due to excessive alcohol consumption. The mobile phone behind the wheel is another cause of security threat. Researchers have proven how dangerous it is to speak or write on the mobile phone, even with the hands-free system.
Drivers are always the first to be considered responsible for traffic safety. But what about the responsibility of pedestrians who are also road users? In Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities, many pedestrians ignore traffic every day, are impatient and don't wait for traffic lights, cross the streets in unsafe places, are busy with their cell phones or distracted by music. Consequently, we desired to know: how extent is this wrongdoing punished? Is it punished at all? Pedestrian responsibility is also important!
We gathered various ideas in a mind map to analyze the topic in detail and we decided to focus on drivers and pedestrians behaviors on the road. It was useful the article, “Unpunished” offenses: the 20 traffic offenses that exist but are hardly punished”, written by Pablo Martínez Carignano published on Clarin.com on 05-23-2019.
As a first step, we conducted a survey with the following questions for pedestrians: have you ever received a violation report as a pedestrian? Do you know if pedestrian infractions really exist? How often do you cross the street without using the crosswalk? How often do you go down to the street while you wait for the traffic light to turn green for you? Do you go out for a walk with a pet? Is this pet tied or loose? Do you use the cell phone on the street? Do you wear headphones on the street? Do you have any anecdote where a pedestrian was the cause of an accident? The results that we want to remark are: from our sample, no one received a fine for having committed a fault as a pedestrian. Older people say there are pedestrian infractions, but the police don’t give them importance. All the respondents assure that they ever crossed the street improperly. All indicate that they use the cell phone on the street and young people also use headphones to listen to audio content. None of them thought about the danger that this can cause, but rather that they might steal!
As a second step, we made a research about drivers´ behaviors. We created a survey in twitter with 5 questions regarding giving priority, the use of seatbelt, the use of cell phone, and respecting traffic signs and lights. Our findings put in evidence that drivers don’t respect the traffic rules.
After our surveys, we decided to develop a campaign for pedestrians and drivers in order to make them more aware of their irresponsible bahaviors and the importance of respecting traffic rules to ensure road safety.
We chose different videos that highlighted the negative consequences of irresponsible behaviors and we shared them with our participants. After visualizing the videos, they received a form they to fill and mark the correct and inappropriate behaviors. This way, they could reflect on their own behaviors and become more aware of what they have to change to be more responsible road users.