Our project targeted behaviour change in young pedestrians regarding the main factors which influence outcomes in road traffic accidents such as obstruction by electronic devices, visibility and crossing the street at risky points.
The major problem that we identified was the quiet off road where the two biggest town schools are situated, both the primary public school as well as the biggest secondary college in our region. The most dangerous moments of the day are when school starts and ends, and at time between the two shifts, when the school buses, other vehicles and pedestrians of younger age use the same road with the one single aim to reach the school in the safest way.
Being used to such a condition, we wanted to raise awareness about the risky and responsible behaviour of pedestrians and speak up about the problem. So, we made a research about the statistics for the two previous years showing the number of victims in our county Slavonia and Baranja and concluded that local authorities could be cooperative and that we would force them to hear us.
In addition we searched for some statistics in Croatia regarding the number of accidents involving pedestrians and their causes, and identified the most common risk behaviours. We realized that the key risks for pedestrians are not unknown, that pedestrians also share responsibility for road safety and that a lot of accidents are not only predictable but also preventable.
According to statistics the Republic of Croatia is following good progress in lowering the number of road accident fatalities from 2010 (-26%), the number of deaths decreased by a further 4% in 2018, reaching 77 per million inhabitants, but Croatia is still the country at the bottom of the bar graph with almost the highest fatality rates in the EU as presented in the bar graph in our presentation.
Vulnerable road users such as unprotected cyclists and pedestrians, riders of powered two-wheelers and the elderly, especially in urban areas, make almost half of road accident victims. In 2017, 21% of all people killed on roads were pedestrians. We must keep in mind that for every person killed in traffic accidents, about five more suffer serious injuries with life-changing consequences. These injuries are costly to society because of long-time rehabilitation and healthcare needs.
In front of our school, where there are no sidewalks after leaving school area, pupils got used to using shortcuts. Pupils’ everday routine is characterized by the regular use of mobile devices. This influences the behavior of pedestrians and increases the risk of accidents, because the distraction produced by electonical devices affects pupils’ abilities to react to an unexpected situation. That is why, we have decided to speak up about the responsible behaviour of pedestrians.
In the meantime, during the corona crises the reconstructions of the off road started, and at the moment the sidewalks are being built and it will result in safer intersection crossing.
The campaign we wanted to execute was to raise awareness amongst the most vulnerable population of road users – young pedestrians – so our objective was to undertake series of activities in order to transmit our message about the self-responsibility while taking part in road traffic although walking on foot.
Our project consisted of undertaking activities during online schooling due to COVID 19. The activities included artistic or creative, organizational and analytical activities.
Artistic or creative activities referred to creating poster campaigns, presentations, mind maps, quizzes with strong slogans on the risky and responsible behaviour of pedestrians as well as consequences of responsible and risky behaviours, writing articles for the school magazine, organizational activities included organizing online zoom lecturing led by actor of prevention Police – Department for Law Enforcement and Regulations of Road Safety of County Slavonia and Baranja lecturing on the most common risky behaviour among pedestrians and the ways how to avoid them as well as organizing the participation in June in a local radio show “The Voice of Youth” on pedestrian and road safety (as part of the dissemination). Analytical activities referred to doing researches and statistics about the most common risky behaviour of pedestrians, designing educational material on road safety education “What makes a pedestrian responsible? – Rules for Everyday Life and Avoidance of Absent-Minded Walking across/ along Streets” and posting it to classroom teachers online.
Materials were exhibited at padlet map on our school website as well as in the local and regional media.
During the online classes we were encouraged to get acquainted with a series of different digital tools such as coggle it, bubbl.us, padlet, quizzes, arranging digital posters, popplet, kahoot quizzes, adobe spark, quizlet, prezi, ... so we managed to create material presenting it in our virtual school library, school web page and sharing them online using our social networks or sharing them with our families, friends, primary and secondary school teachers and colleagues.
Pupils now pay more attention while crossing the street, are more aware of the road dangers and the importance of performing the basic actions before crossing the street – looking to the left and right, do not let them being distracted by electronic devices, like listening to music with headphones and texting at the same time. This target population is now more responsible even when crossing the signalised intersection. they pay attention to the traffic itself, and do not underestimate the time needed for crossing the street.
The activities resulted in raising awareness about responsible behaviour among pupils as pedestrians and in an increase in the road safety skills among pedestrians. The online material will be valuable to road safety authorities - Red Cross Organisation Croatia, Croatian Automobile Club, Police – Department for Law Enforcement and Regulations of Road Safety of County Slavonia and Baranja, local authorities, schools and teachers while implementing similar activities.