We analyzed different problems and their impact on traffic safety: alcohol, not using a seat belt, disregard of regulations. We hope to raise awareness of participants in traffic, who can choose responsible behavior and everyday safety.
Near the end of February 2018, a severe traffic accident happened near Vrsac. Two ex-students of our school died, and three young people were hurt. That was the cause to talk more about safe behaviour in traffic, do we follow the rules of traffic, and if we do, how much? Do we follow some rules more than others and which rules do we break the most? At the beginning of March we were invited to participate in an international project called "Your idea, Your initiative", which deals with safety in traffic. Participating in this project presented a natural continuation of the activities we had already begun. We polled students of our school, young drivers, and as the most frequent mistakes we’ve found are:
- not following traffic regulations
- parties which end early in the morning and driving under the influence of alcohol
- driving inadequate vehicles for the skills which they have (too much power for young drivers or the old age of the vehicle)
- bad roads
- using a mobile phone in your car
We decided that the goal of this year’s projective activities should be raising awareness about the need of following traffic regulations and avoiding participation in traffic if we are under the influence of alcohol or other psychoactive substances. We put the accent on raising awareness about the importance of putting on a seatbelt and on the negative effect of alcohol on physical and mental capabilities of a participant in traffic. Driving under the influence of alcohol is rated as very risky. It got a grade of 3.9 out of 5, which means there is still space for improvement. The data is taken from the Transporten security strategy on the roads of Vrsac - 2017-2021.
Because of that, our slogan this year is: Think twice! #BetterAliveThanDrunkAndHigh
Using a seatbelt isn’t considered as an important factor of safety by the participants of traffic. The importance of using a seatbelt is rated 1.7, which shows us that much more extra work is needed in this field. (Transporten security strategy on the roads of Vrsac - 2017-2021)
A team of students started a chain of activities. The first activity was polling students, young drivers. Based on their answers, the following activities were chosen.
A lecture was held for the first year students. They received an investigational assignment about traffic safety. Based on their research, they made short films and animations about traffic safety. The work of all the groups was shown to all the other students. The strongest impression on students still left watching a movie, the life stories of Milan Mitic, Milan Mitic 1u10 Miliona.
We made contact with the council of safety in traffic in Vrsac, traffic police, the traffic school “Sava Munćan” and mister Dragan. In collaboration with them we prepared a lecture with practical exercises for senior students of all middle schools in the town. More than 200 students from the "Borislav Petrov Braca" Gymnasium, the Chemical-medical school, Agricultural Schools, School center Nikola Tesla participated.
We chose to dedicate most of the activities to the senior students, as they are starting to gain knowledge in the area of controlling vehicles and many of them have already passed the driving test and are participating in traffic. Young people learn quick, they gladly accept new knowledge, but are often impatient and can’t wait for a certain period after gaining experience in traffic to pass. They often fail to follow traffic rules and perform actions in a way they weren’t taught in their driving schools. Unfortunately after such reckless acts in traffic, accidents in which people get hurt are most likely to happen. In the period of 2012 to 2016, on the territory of Vrsac, young people took part in 133 traffic accidents. Experienced drivers evade risky situations more easily, while young drivers often get hurt.
Thanks to the cooperation with the traffic school "Sava Munćan" from Bela Crkva, the students could see and feel the importance of using a seatbelt while driving by using a simulator of direct collision, or feel the effect alcohol has on traffic participants by putting on the so called “drunk glasses”.
We used Microbit and its accelerometer for measuring the acceleration. The data was sent to a computer via Bluetooth. We used Excel for making graphs. Students counted the forces that act on the human body. They compared these values with the measured values. The pupils calculated the forces that act on the human body when impact. The calculated data was compared with the data obtained from the measurement. Based on the data, graphs were drawn and compared with the calculated theoretical results.
The simulators left a great effect on the students. A few of their comments were:
"I literally don’t know where I am, I have no orientation, it’s hard to control my body, it’s hard to walk, I can’t imagine driving a car or something similar"
"The experience was pretty interesting and new, with this being a speed of only 10km/h, and the tug still being so hard, and we usually drive at a much greater speed. So I changed my opinion on driving, and realised how serious it is compared to what we think."
Mister Dragan Vitorović has told us the reasons which led to the traffic accident he has experienced after his prom night. The consequence of the accident was his permanent disability.
The local, regional and national media has informed about our actions and in that way promoted safe behaviour in traffic on a wider level (RTS Svet, Radio Televizija Vojvodine, eVršac, Vršačka kula).
The third activity was aimed at the locals of Vrsac. Students created promotional stickers. They used the program Inkscape. We visited coffee shops which are frequently visited by young people. In an agreement with the owners of these places, we put up promotional stickers. We also handed out stickers to the guests of these places. We measured the levels of alcohol in the breath of people who were up to it. We handed out cards with the stickers to the people who had no alcohol presence.
The last activity was making a game. There are many obstacles on the roads which are reminiscent of holes and mud piles which often appear on local roads. This activity is still in development.
Students are interested in continuing the activities tied to safety in traffic after the official conclusion of the project.
A great number of local roads is damaged because of vehicles which transport agricultural and other products. As a conscequence of that, accidents happen. Because of that a game was made which contains obstacles which are reminiscent of holes and mud piles which often appear on local roads. More about this next year.