IES Saulo Torón

This project aims to warn of the risks of using mobile phones by drivers and pedestrians. 

The ideas

Mobile phones are considered the biggest distraction for our friends and ourselves when we are pedestrians on public roads. As a consequence, in 3rd course, we investigated the statistics of pedestrians hit because of mobile phones distractions. Then we decided that would be a good aim to inform people of the risks of using mobile phones in this context. In addition, it would be a good reason to participate in the European Day Without a Road Death. This participation has been the starting point of this project, our third participation in your ideas your initiatives.

After trying to make pedestrians aware of the risk of mobile phone use, we also decided to study some of the consequences of drivers' distractions due to the use of mobile phones. Sometimes our parents, older brothers and friends take a quick look at the screen while driving.

According to General Directorate of traffic, over 20% car accidents involving pedestrians that happen in developed countries are due to the negligence of pedestrians. In addition, 98% of these accidents happen when pedestrians are using theirs smartphones in an irresponsible way. Pedestrians who walk around concentrating on their smartphones are not attentive to traffic lights. They take longer to cross the streets, and also do not look at the sides and do not pay attention to their path. If they also use hearing aids then pedestrians will not be able to hear the engine of a car approaching, a braking or a horn alerting them of a risky situation.

Accidents caused by distractions cause 30% of fatalities on the road. Distraction at the wheel, caused by the mobile phone, has become the main cause of death in traffic accidents. The results of a survey conducted at 'MMT seguros', in more than 6,000 young Europeans, are very worrying: 43% of young people use whatsApp while driving.  According to General Directorate of traffic, talking on the telephone (25%), reading messages (25%) and sending messages (18%) are the usual practices among Spanish drivers while they are driving. Three seconds pass in a quick glance at the screen. There are more than 1.900.000 uses of the hashtag #carselfie on Instagram alone, while 31.000 photos have been tagged with #drivingselfie. Taking selfies while driving can slow reaction times by 38%, compared to 21% when driving under the influence of cannabis, and 12.5% when driving at the legal alcohol limit.

In Physics and Chemistry of 4th ESO we studied what is the safety distance, why it is not respected and what happens when drivers do not respect it. The distractions in the highway because of using mobile do that the reaction time increases and, as a consequence, the safety distance to avoid an accident will rise too.

We got behind the wheel using virtual reality viewers. We had the chance to live in first person how dangerous it is to pay attention to smartphones while driving. In fact, the innumerable distractions caused by the mobile phone made us nervous.

In Physics and Chemistry of 2nd ESO we studied the average speed in local roads widely known by students. We have used this concept to calculate how much distance a vehicle travels while the driver keeps his eyes off the road because he is looking at the mobile screen.

The initiatives

In 3rd course we decided to record an advertising spot to make pedestrians aware of the risk of being run over while walking on the urban roads concentrated in their smartphones. The manager of the film project of our high school helped us. He and his team of students recorded and edited the spot in which we were the protagonists. The Local Police and the Department of Education of the council of Gáldar took part in the management of this event. The council broadcast the advertising spot on the town's advertising digital screens. The one that appears in the video is located at the beginning of the most important commercial street of Gáldar, Capitán Quesada Street, so its projection reached many citizens. The activity was disseminated at European level through the Edward Project.

In 4th course, in order to raise awareness among drivers, we have developed infographics that warn of the need to respect the safety distance.

In 2nd course we recorded small advertising spots, videos and radio spots, warning citizens about the risk of looking at the mobile at a certain speed in different roads of our town. In our ads, we used the previous calculations to show the distance that a driver travels keeping their eyes off the road. Some of the phrases of our spots were:

  • Messages and calls can wait, your life can not.
  • Take care of yourself! Take care of us!
  • Drive without distractions and gain safety.
  • A message is not more important than the lives of people. Do not look at the phone while driving. Be cautious.
  • In the car that your mobile phone does not disconnect your life.

The social networks and the website of our high school and the blog of Physics and Chemistry “El gato de Schrödinger”, which receives a large number of visits daily, have been an important means of dissemination of our spot. The digital magazine of our centre, which name is La Ventana del Saulo, is also one of the main ways of spread all the activities of the Road Safety Project. Finally, all products of our work were disseminated through the Road Safety Project blog.

This  project has made us reflect about the risks of using mobile phones by drivers and pedestrians. We have recorded a video to tell our impressions. 

  • "Thanks to this project I don't let my father talk on the telephone when he is driving, not even with the speaker."
  • "Projects like these are the ones that prepare you for life. Someday I will be a driver and I already know what I should and I shouldn't do.
  • With this work I have learnt that looking at the mobile phone can cost your life.

Other stories in Spain