European Road Safety Charter

FII TREAZ LA VOLAN! national road safety campaign

Romania is one of the European countries with the highest mortality rate in road accidents (91 dead to 1 million people in 2014), according to data provided by local authorities. The “FII TREAZ LA VOLAN!” Campaign (the title can be roughly translated to “Be awake at the wheel!”, although in Romanian the expression “be awake” can also refer to being sober, thus adding a double meaning to the campaign’s slogan and simultaneously addressing two major issues which affect road safety – alcohol and tiredness) was a national initiative dedicated to road safety and preventive driving, taking place in Romania between the 11th of July and the 15th of September 2016. Overall, the campaign focused on increasing the Romanian drivers’ awareness concerning the main risks that can lead to road accidents: alcohol, tiredness, using the mobile phone while driving, the use of drugs as well as the use of medicine that can affect driving.

Immediately after its official launch, “FII TREAZ LA VOLAN!” started gaining an increasingly significant momentum in the online and offline environments, benefitting from a strong support offered by well-known persons from the cultural, entertainment, sports, and digital fields. The unprecedented large scope of the positive reactions, coming from famous people representing a multitude of domains, set the campaign apart from similar initiatives and demonstrated, at the same time, the need for such an educational campaign in Romania, where statistics show an increase of road accidents and an overall lack of discipline among drivers.

Thus, in the first part of the campaign, famous singers (Nicu ALIFANTIS) and theatre artists (George IVASCU), sportsmen with an international reputation (Ionut IFTIMOAIE) as well as VIPs from the entertainment field (Dan FINTESCU, DJ OLIX) and even from the classical music field (Alexandru PETROVICI) recorded their video messages which were then shared on the campaign’s Facebook page, as well as their personal pages. The videos where seen, shared and liked by thousands of Romanian drivers. This “first wave” of video messages (testimonials) dedicated to road safety and preventive driving generated a second type of echoes in social media: it gathered a new number of VIP endorsers for the campaign, generating quick responses from well-known people ready to share their personal experiences behind the wheel and support “FII TREAZ LA VOLAN!”’s messages. At the end of August, many of the campaign’s videos and Facebook posts had reached thousands of drivers.

Overall, “FII TREAZ LA VOLAN!”’s messages were mainly distributed using two channels:

I) Online, through the campaign’s official Facebook page, were the following type of materials were published:

  • Video messages recorded by VIP endorsers

  • Infographics focusing on preventive driving advice

  • Short message-cards warning against the risks drivers expose themselves to if they have a careless/ inappropriate/ illegal behavior behind the wheel (ex: by how much the probability of an accident increases when the driver texts/ speaks on the phone/ drinks etc.)

  • Safety messages distributed in bi-weekly comic-strips featuring the campaign’s official mascots (two personalized cars - EMA and TEO – which showed why common careless/ dangerous driving behaviors behind the wheel is problematic, in a friendly and funny way)

Other online activities also included:

  • An online poll testing the participants’ driving habits, especially those concerning the use of the mobile phone while driving, drinking and driving, checking medicines for side effects that could affect their driving abilities, as well as their habits as pedestrians (crossing the streets through unmarked places etc.) etc. The survey aimed to evaluate the current behavior of Romanian drivers (given the lack of such national studies focusing on drivers’ habits), as well as to underline, in an interactive manner, important risks posed by careless driving. Over 4,300 people participated at the survey.

  • An online reflex test which challenged users to test their reaction speed (by clicking on a button at a specific time) in two circumstances: “normally” and “after drinking alcohol” (and calculating the distance a car can cover in the additional milliseconds needed to click the button “after drinking alcohol” compared with clicking it “normally” at certain speeds – 50 km/h, 90 km/h and 120 km/h). Although not based on scientific methods and definitely impossible to be considered equivalent to a real life situation, the reflex test aimed to point out that even a few seconds can have a tremendous impact in case of an accident.

II) Offline, through the campaign’s brochure, which was distributed nationally, through dedicated promoters handing the brochure in traffic, as well as through one of the most popular daily newspapers in Romania, as an insert. In total, 500,000 brochures were distributed nationally during the campaign.