Valor Dictus

‘Drive S.A.F.E.’ Program Off to a Strong Start, Needs Follow Through

Thomas Friestad

Thomas Friestad

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When most students jump in the car, the most pressing thoughts on their mind are where they’re going and whether or not they have enough gas to make it all the way there. Having a full tank, however, isn’t always enough to get them home in one piece.

In the same way, the Drive S.A.F.E. campaign is an excellent start to raising awareness about safe driving habits. Covering issues from distracted driving and seatbelt safety to driving under the influence, the campaign is thorough in its efforts. Amidst recent events affecting members of the Robinson community, the issue is also extremely relevant and has struck a chord amongst students and faculty. Whether that resonates in the long-term, however, will reflect how effectively the message was conveyed.

Taking a ‘seat-belt selfie’, while a fine way to communicate the message, is an example of a campaign strategy which runs the risk of making only a temporary impact. While the campaign does not endorse taking pictures while driving, taking ‘selfies’ is a common cause of distracted driving. Students who participate by posting these pictures need to understand the implications of the larger message. 

Part of the responsibility lies with the organizers of ‘Drive S.A.F.E.’, to publicize their message in a way that appropriately reflects the seriousness of the issue. The issue of safe driving is complicated and multi-faceted, and much of its original essence can be easily lost in the attempt to reach larger audiences. Many past campaigns, in an attempt to engage the student body, have fallen prey to this trap. Although teenagers have notoriously short attention-spans, if we shorten the message to fit them students will be left with a very shallow knowledge of the issue.

The strongest and most effective way of communicating the message of safe driving is for students and faculty to be role models of the principles they preach. Although it is easy to forget, every time we get behind the wheel, we are making a statement about ourselves. Others will take notice and hold you up to high standards, and the legitimacy of the ‘Drive S.A.F.E.’ campaign depends on the example set by its promoters and participants.

Hopefully this movement, which has started off as a DECA project, will expand and become a joint effort uniting the community. Safe driving is a noble message we can and should all endorse, but raising awareness can only go so far. In the end, it is our actions and those of the people around us that will decide whether or not we make it home at the end of the night.

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