A programme run by a Spanish accident prevention group is helping cut road deaths by raising awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of drink and drugs.
It aims to stop young people falling victim to peer pressure and driving while unsafe or being a passenger when the driver is intoxicated.
Si controlas, vuelves – meaning ‘if you control, you come back’ – was set up in 2005 by AESLEME, an organisation that aspires to prevent accidents leading to spinal or head injuries. This initiative was also shortlisted for our 2021 Excellence in Road Safety Awards, find out more here.
Aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds, the programme centres on a 90-minute training session on the effects that drinking or taking drugs can have if you get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
It recognises the influence of peer pressure and uses shocking videos and images of real accidents to help drive home the message.
The sessions are led by a road accident victim, who shares their own harrowing story of the reasons for the accident that changed their life.
The talk includes detailed information on different types of alcoholic drink and their effects; blood alcohol levels; current regulations; and statistics on the number of young people seriously hurt or killed in drink or drug-related car accidents.
Also discussed are myths about drink driving, the reasons why young people drink and how to not become a victim of peer pressure.
The campaign began with support from the City Council of Pozuelo and was subsequently rolled out to other areas of the country, including Madrid, Aragon, Asturias, Galicia and Guadalajara. Since its inception, 3,749 conferences have been held with more than 172,000 young people attending.
The attendees are asked to complete questionnaires before and after their session, to establish the changes in their knowledge. Many of the students credit the personal story of the presenter, as well as the impact of the real-life videos and images, for altering their perspective of drink and drug-driving.
Over the years the programme has evolved to look at other forms of transport, including cycles and motorbikes.
The number of young people killed in traffic accidents has dropped significantly in past 10 years. From 2006, the fatalities among 15 to 34-year-olds went down from 1,696 to 421, a reduction of 75%. But a 15% increase in road deaths between 2014 and 2016 has made AESLEME realise that their programme is still needed.