West Orange High School YAB Driver Safety 2023-2024

How many students heard the message of your project?

Estimated percentage of your student body?

Who has your project aimed to reach?
Freshman class| Sophomore class| Junior class| Senior class| School professionals| Community at large

Clearly state the objective of your project. 

With our project, we aimed to promote road safety through multiple means of engagement. We hosted school events, social media outreach, educational presentations, and advocated for safer driving legislation. Our club has four different committees that all aim to target different aspects of our community spreading the message regarding the importance of safer roads. Our policy committees primarily focused on getting Bill S2789/A3793, which will mandate that anyone who is 16-21 years of age with a permit is required to log a total of 50 hours, with 10 of those hours being at night. Our municipality committee worked with the West Orange Pedestrian Safety Board to address community road traffic issues, offering solutions that would then promote safer roads, thereby decreasing the chances of accidents within our community. Furthermore, our education committee made several trips to our local elementary schools to educate the younger generation on the importance of practicing traffic safety awareness. Our social media committee has curated many posts and engagements with other traffic safety platforms. Altogether, we hope to continue striving towards promoting the practice of road and traffic safety through all of these methods and decrease the amount of traffic-related accidents. We strongly believe that this method of education is important to those who are not aware of the risks that come with reckless driving and will have knowledge of how to ensure the safety of not just themselves, but those around them too.

Describe your project and its implementation. 

Our project was highly effective, as we reached over 200 students with our traffic safety week which was hosted at West Orange High School. This statistic does not include the amount of those who heard about our work in the multiple articles that we mentioned in this school year. The policy committee made several trips to Trenton to speak in front of the State Annex, here we shared our own experiences and concerns with current road legislations regarding the development of safer drivers and the lack thereof. All of our hard work eventually paid off, as on January 6, 2024, the law would mandate that anyone who is 16-21 years of age with a permit is required to log a total of 50 hours, with 10 of those hours being at night. This law will take effect in February 2025 thus ensuring that all drivers will have enough preparation before embarking on their behind-the-wheel journey alone. Furthermore, by doing so we will be able to ensure that the number of teen-related accidents that happen on a daily basis will effectively decrease. Our traffic safety week was a huge success as well, as we reached over 200 students and noticed an improvement of up to 83 percent in traffic safety knowledge from our participants. For taking their time and putting in effort to make roads a safer place they were each awarded a prize chosen at random through a wheel spin. Furthermore, we reached hundreds of elementary school students by painting murals and giving presentations to spread the importance of maintaining and practicing safe traffic precautions outdoors. We highlighted the importance of watching both sides of the road and other ways to maintain traffic safety when outside. This was crucial as children, who are still developing in terms of maturity, spatial awareness, and smart critical thinking, need to be taught the importance of such precautions as often times than not schools fail to properly prepare these students about such possible dangers.

School/Community Engagement: 
How did you reach your student body and the community? (examples: connecting with nearby colleges, schools, local police departments, persons affected by teen crashes, local/county/state governments, and local businesses) 

Through the help of social media, we were able to involve more members of our school.  After our traffic safety week and pledge, we would post various pictures displaying our success.  Additionally, without the use of social media, we collaborated to create a poster displaying and promoting the safety week, and placed it throughout the school, allowing those who may not have social media access to participate and learn.  Furthermore, when creating this traffic safety week, we got into contact with various local businesses for support: Dunkin’ Donuts, Fortissimo, and Mama Dags, further allowing us to spread our message.  Throughout the year, our three committees have met with countless members of the community in order to spread our message to more.  Our education committee planned various field trips to go to the elementary schools in town in order to promote traffic safety with the little kids, which is a key in promoting safe drivers.  Additionally, our members of the municipality committee met with the local Municipality Board in order to voice our concerns with certain aspects regarding traffic safety throughout town.  By voicing these concerns, we were able to replace faded stop signs near elementary schools throughout town.  Additionally, one member of this Board is a local police officer, so his guidance was extremely helpful in regard to implementing certain changes.  Lastly, our policy committee was extremely productive and met with the State Annex in Trenton to implement a new law that requires 50 hours of driving for those with their permit, 10 of them being at night, in order to allow drivers to become more comfortable with the wheel and prevent less crashes.  In doing so, multiple state newspapers were published regarding their accomplishments and Pix 11 News Station interviewed them as well, allowing anyone to see their hard work pay off.

What makes your project unique and engaging? How did you engage with other student groups to creatively spread your message? (Examples: create artwork, music, plays, unique campaign slogan/logos) 

What makes our project so unique is our ability to successfully make a change while still engaging and communicating with others in different age groups. Through our creativity and adaptiveness, we were able to drive and relay our goals and ambitions to children from the age of 6 all the way to 40 and above. Thereby, driving changes not only within our community but statewide that affect young drivers for years to come. This skill was such a valuable thing to have in our arsenal because of the success and effectiveness that we noticed and the feedback that we got. There were State Senators who acknowledged us on our ability to drive our message and even changed their minds and voted in favor of what we were advocating for. While our projects were unique, it was the skill of seeing feedback and progress from the entire community at large that really made our mission so successful.

Show how you worked as a team in designing and implementing your project (examples: sign-in sheets at meetings, photos of the group working on tasks). 

We utilized teamwork through all of our projects. Collectively we communicated and diligently planned unique ideas that would not only appeal to all age groups but also show an impact within our community. The policy committee worked together to reach out to multiple State Senators setting up meetings to discuss why the passage of the 50-hour driving legislation was so important, thereby convincing them as to why they should vote and support our cause. We worked with local restaurants to sponsor us and our Traffic Safety Week project. They gave us gift cards that were distributed to winners to take their time out of their day to learn the importance of practicing traffic and road safety. Clear communication was a major factor that played in our success for so many of these causes and as to why we will continue to be successful in the future. We had members track attendance to see and track those who were dedicated and attentive to all of our meetings. This also ensured punctuality and commitment from the whole club.

Use of Research/Data: 
Show how you used local resources to help identify, deliver, assess, and present your project (Examples: local/statewide/national data.). 

Throughout our mission we were able to utilize different forms of resources where we were able to collect data from different places throughout our town’s community. We presented to local elementary schools to present our informational slides, discussed traffic safety issues with our town’s local West Orange Pedestrian Safety Board, and interacted with our high school’s students throughout various events. We also helped pass a bill that will be implemented next year that will affect the state of New Jersey that requires 50 hours of driving for those with their permit, 10 of them being at night. Through these initiatives we were able to expand our mission and take it to the local and statewide level.

Use of Media: 
Document how you used media in your project (examples: local radio, TV, newspapers, social media, websites, video, PSAs). 

Compared to previous years we put a big focus on improving our social media and press presence. Our first initiative was to increase our following at our high school. To do this we kept it simple, each member was responsible for reposting every single one of our Instagram posts and getting their friends to follow. We continued this with having a QR code at all our events and rewarded people for interacting. Next, we got a lot of media attention with the passing of our bill. Our policy committee was focussed on a nighttime special on NY/NJ Pix 11. In addition, we received quotes and recognition from: nj.gov, New Jersey Mentor, Montclair Local, West Orange Chronicles, Patch.com, TAPinto. All of these articles and specials allowed us to get our message and name out to many more people. We used this to our benefit, in our interviews our members used the opportunity to speak about the YAB as a whole, as well as individual problems we wish to address. We believe that some of the reason for our 50 practice bill getting passed was due to the media presence we garnered. Without these articles legislators may not have known as much about the bill or been pressured to fight for it in the first place. As a whole we increased our social media presence, more people know our name, and more people know about the issues we fight to solve.

Evaluation and Impact: 
Describe how you measured the impact of your project (examples: pre/post observational studies, surveys, quizzes, interviews, etc.)   

This year we wanted to greatly increase the amount of people who we reached. One of the ways we did this was with our now annual Traffic Safety Week. During this week, for each of the days, we had a pre and post survey. The pre survey would test all participants prior knowledge of the day’s topic. After they filled it out, they were educated by our Youth Advisory Board members and then retested them on their newly learned knowledge. Our results indicated that around 85% of the students taking the pretest got all of the questions wrong. However, when they took the post test, 95% got at least half of the questions correct and around 65% got everything right. Next, we measured some of our success through the amount of attention we got. For instance, by getting recognized by multiple news outlets and media networks some of our success could be seen. While the two went hand in hand, meaning that as we got more media attention more outlets began to recognize who we were and also wanted to do an article.

How will your project have a lasting effect on your target group? 

Our main target group was students in our high school. Our goal was to educate our peers and teach them lessons that will carry with them through life. By educating new, future, and current drivers about some of the risks and responsibilities of driving we hope that they will remember us every single time they drive. Our goal with even the elementary students is always to have an impression that will lead to safe roadways. Another way we ensure people will not stop talking about us is with our t-shirts and bracelets. Every single time someone puts one of them on they will be reminded of us and the things we have taught them. Essentially acting as a conscience that makes them drive more safely. Next, we started a new tradition of having a Traffic Safety Week. This will hopefully continue on for many years to come and will continue to grow with our board. If we can make a good impression on just one person, they will one day teach their family and friends to act the same way. This would after a long period of time lead to generationally better drivers and safer roadways for all people.

Unexpected Lessons Learned:
Describe any unintended results that came out of your project. 

Our goal for the club was to help push forth our initiatives to help traffic safety awareness and focus on the main goal this year which was road safety. We had some plans in the beginning of the year where we did not think would actually become successful like getting the bill passed this year which was a pleasant surprise where we were able to be a part of a bigger change. We were also hesitant on some events like the pledge day and traffic safety week that ended up being a major success within our schools community which helped us realize that we need to continue to host more events for our community in order to raise traffic safety awareness.

Stipend Reporting:
Your school received a stipend to support your Champion School Teen Driving Safety Project. Additionally, any funds that you raised as a result of your project must be reinvested into transportation safety. The purpose of this report is to itemize expenditures for your project that were paid from the stipend

Prizes for Traffic Safety Week $900
Total $900


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