A focus on being alert and living in the moment saw a Swinburne University communications student named inaugural winner of a road safety competition designed to help combat growing unsafe use of mobile phones while driving.
Chloe Young’s unique approach to the issue, which resulted in a highly emotive video, was judged the most outstanding entry in the competition. Hard Edge brand communications agency partnered with Swinburne University to create the competition.
Managing director Andrew Hardwick is also a member of the Safe Use of Mobiles in Vehicles (SUMV) Subcommittee. The SUMV Subcommittee is a group of companies and road safety organisations that have come together to highlight road safety. Mobile phone use while driving is a key social issue it is pursuing.
Ahead of national Road Safety Week this week, students presented their entries to a panel of judges that included SUMV Subcommittee members Hard Edge, Transurban, TAC, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) and National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP). As part of her prize, Chloe won funding to activate her idea on campus and a one-month paid internship at Hard Edge.
With young drivers over represented in road fatalities and research suggesting use of mobile phones while driving reflects a larger issue –mobile phone addiction – the competition challenged Swinburne Communication and Digital Media Design students to develop a creative execution that created awareness about the issue and influenced behaviour among their peer age group.
The judges praised the high standard of ideas presented, which ranged from bumper stickers featuring unique characters, posters in university car parks, a phone app encouraging young people to restore life balance by reducing mobile phone use, and user-generated content campaigns to broadcast messages of real-world consequences of texting and driving.
Hard Edge’s Andrew Hardwick, who has personally felt the impact of the mobile phone use while driving of another road user, said the road safety competition was an opportunity to give back to the community while providing students real-world experience in creating campaigns.
“I was impressed with both the enthusiasm and collaboration between the SUMV companies and Swinburne,” he said.
“And I was even more impressed by what the students produced, not just campaign ideas themselves but the thinking behind what students presented was at a very high level.”
“Young drivers are over represented in Victoria’s road fatalities; they make up around 11-14% of licence holders but account for around 20-25 per cent of driver fatalities each year,” the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) Samantha Buckis said.
“Given the high risk for young drivers, it is important to provide them with the information and tools to help them make safer decisions.”
Transurban’s Head of Health, Safety and Environment Joanna Knight, added, “Being a major road operator across Australia, safety is our major priority. Minimising distraction at the wheel is one of the keys to reducing road accidents.”
Melinda Spiteri, RACV Road User Behaviour manager claims, “Mobile phone use can be a dangerous distraction to drivers. It was very impressive to see the innovative way that the students addressed this road safety issue.”
NRSPP Manager Jerome Carslake described the quality of the campaign presentations as “mind blowing. The strength of ideas met the scope and exceeded it,” he said.
“Viewing mobile phone use as a broader culture issue meant the campaign could have lasting effects by changing habits.”