Mind on the Road, Hands on the Wheel
How many students heard the message of your project?
Estimated percentage of your student body?
Who has your project aimed to reach?
Community at large
To educate as many students, staff, and community members as possible about ways to be a safe passenger and the importance of aiding drivers so that they are not distracted as well as get as many people as possible to sign the safe driving pledge.
All SBHS students, staff, and South Brunswick community members.
Our project is called “Mind on the Road, Hands on the Wheel”. It is a continuation of our project from last year. This year’s focus was on being a safe passenger. We implemented the campaign by utilizing community and school resources and conducted it using members of the SB Helping Hands Club (a community service organization at SBHS). We created a PSA that was shown on our school video announcements every day for approximately 2 months, held weekly tables at lunch with trivia, giveaways, distracted driving pledges, and a photo booth. Additionally, we advertised our campaign via the township-wide alert system (NIXLE), presented at a board of education meeting, ran a community-wide distracted driving awareness walk, advertised on our SB Helping Hands social media accounts and in the weekly district and SBHS online newsletters. We also distributed pins and wristbands with our campaign name and slogan on them. Additionally, we conducted interviews on distracted driving and being a safe passenger on VTN (our school t.v. network), included a page in the junior and senior prom packets about tips for being a safe passenger and limiting distracted driving, hung posters with a QR code to the safe driving pledge around the school, and designed a billboard advertisement for our campaign on Rt. 1 in South Brunswick. We also had two articles published on the Patch and mycentraljersey.com about our campaign.
Our main board of 7 students met bi-monthly to discuss the project, brainstorm ideas, design materials, and organize events. Additionally, various members of the SB Helping Hands club volunteered to run the lunch tables every Friday from February to May and conduct trivia, take photos of student and staff participation, inform students and staff about the campaign, etc. We also partnered with enddd.org to have a speaker present at our distracted driving awareness charity walk.
Use of resources:
The first resource used was the school television network, (VTN), where a short message about the campaign along with our distracted driving PSA was shown every day, for over a month, during first block classes to over 2,000 students. The South Brunswick Police Department sent out a township-wide nixle about our campaign with the link to the distracted driving pledge. Students presented the campaign at a Board of Education meeting and distributed campaign pins and wristbands to Board of Education members. Meetings are both attended in person and televised to the entire community. We collaborated with the South Brunswick High School phys ed department to show our PSA to students during gym and health classes who then had to take a pre and post-quiz on the information. Students ran tables at lunch every Friday where they ran a photo booth with props decorated with our slogan and gave out campaign merchandise, informed students about the campaign, ran trivia games, and got students to sign the safe driving pledge. Students that visited the table signed the distracted driving pledge and posted a picture with our hashtag and wearing our pins or wristbands on their social media and were entered into a raffle for their participation. We created a PSA that was shown on our school video announcements every day for approximately 3 months. Additionally, we ran a community-wide distracted driving awareness walk (set to happen May 20th), advertised on our SB Helping Hands social media accounts and in the weekly district and SBHS online newsletters. Additionally, we conducted interviews on distracted driving and being a safe passenger on VTN (our school t.v. network), included a page in the prom packets about tips for being a safe passenger and limiting distracted driving and designed a billboard advertisement for our campaign on Rt. 1 in South Brunswick. We also had two articles published on the Patch and mycentraljersey.com about our campaign.
Use of media:
We had articles published on the Patch.com and mycentraljersey.com, advertised on SB Helping Hands’ social media accounts, designed a billboard to be shown on Rt. 1 in South Brunswick, and advertised our campaign and PSA on VTN (Viking Television Network – the school T.V. network/YouTube Channel/Daily Announcements). We had the campaign and safe driving pledge sent out via the township-wide alert system (NIXLE) and advertised our distracted driving awareness charity walk on the district and SBHS electronic newsletters. We created a short PSA which was shown every day on VTN for approximately 3 months, conducted interviews on VTN, and created a presentation (that included the PSA) to be shown to health and gym classes as well as the Board of Education. Board meetings are also live-streamed to the whole township.
Students researched and used credible data to produce their PSA and cited their sources at the end of the video. Students also researched to create a presentation to present to the community and the Board of Education. Additionally, they used their research to create a short pre and post quiz students would take after viewing the PSA in their phys ed classes. Overall, the campaign focused on not only distracted driving in general but also specifically on how to be a helpful and safe passenger and be able to recognize their own distracting passenger habits and be more aware of their actions while riding in a car. The campaign was solely run by students as well in order to reach the target audience and engage them in the topic. Students also researched to produce trivia questions to be given to students at lunch tables and during interviews on VTN.
We measured change and impact through data. First, we compiled data from social media to see how many students had been reached by the message and had posted about the campaign on social media. Additionally, we kept track of how many students, staff, and community members had signed the distracted driving pledge. Most importantly, we showed our PSA in both gym and health classes and had students take a quiz before and after watching the PSA in order to assess their growth and learning about the subject. Questions included, “Wearing seatbelts reduces fatalities by how much percent?”, “On average, the amount of car crashes has increased in BOTH New Jersey and South Brunswick?”, “How many young adults (aged 13-19) are killed every day because of motor vehicle crashes?”, “What can you do, specifically as a passenger, to help your driver stay focused and safe?”, etc.
We purchased merchandise that students, when discussed, expressed the desire to own, wear, and display in hopes that it will be worn even after this school year. Additionally, we plan to keep the campaign going next school year as well as enter the Champion Schools project next year. We plan to continue to collaborate with the phys ed department, VTN, the school board, and the police department to ensure education on this topic for all students. SB Helping Hands club will also reserve a meeting each year to dedicate to distracted driving and hopes to present about the topic to other clubs and organizations in order to increase education on the subject and encourage students and staff to drive safely.
Unexpected Lessons Learned:
This project brought both our school community and the South Brunswick community closer. Students were able to collaborate with each other as well as staff members to ensure the success of the project as well as bring awareness to a very important topic. Students got to meet with members of the Board of Education, school administration and staff, the police department, their peers, etc. They were able to post and engage online with the community via the SB Helping Hands social media accounts and through the Patch.com and mycentraljersey.com article. This also provided additional opportunities for students to participate in community service projects and learn about a topic that impacts them directly. It gave students a voice to express how they want to be educated about serious topics and allowed peers to reach each other about a cause that truly impacts them all. This campaign also opened our eyes to just how relevant this issue is to our own community within South Brunswick as there have been several vehicular accidents and tragedies within our township and the surrounding areas. Conducting this campaign allowed us, as a school and a community, to truly understand the impacts of this issue and learn real statistics. It also allowed us to educate ourselves, in addition to others, about how to prevent these types of accidents and become better drivers – and passengers – overall.
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
2 Chaperones for charity walk – $82 per person (total TBD as event is on May 20th and sign-ups are ongoing))
Items for charity walk (lawn signs, chalk, food and water, etc.) – $200
Weekly table materials/giveaways – $200
Raffle Items – $106
Showcase Transportation – $212.50
Total – $882.50
Did your school project raise any funds as a result of the stipend received?
For example, did your school utilize the stipend to purchase t-shirts for a fundraiser? YES
As the U Got Brains Champion Schools Program is funded through the Division of highway Traffic Safety, funds raised as a result of the stipend received must be reinvested into transportation safety. If yes, please briefly report the total amount and how this money will be reinvested into transportation safety for your school/community? We plan to collect donations at our charity walk and donate 100% of those proceeds to enddd.org. We will also donate the remainder of our stipend to this cause.