MOBILITY AND TRANSPORT
European Road Safety Charter
Good Practice

Road Safety Campaign Brings Drink-Driving Consequences to Life Through VR Technology

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Road Safety Campaign Brings Drink-Driving Consequences to Life Through VR Technology

Please describe the main road safety challenges/problems you have addressed or are addressing. 
Data collected by the Road Safety Authority showed that there had been a resurgence in drink driving in Ireland. A legacy of historical anti-drink driving advertising had reduced the behaviour, but a new cohort of younger people, who have never been exposed to it, were drinking and driving anew. The RSA Education Manager was tasked with creating a campaign to help reduce this worrying trend against an audience—younger adult males—who considered themselves invincible and immune to road traffic collisions. No matter how strong the RSA’s messaging, there was still an issue in young males and peer pressure. The key objective was to reduce the prospect of drink-driving amongst this younger cohort. We wanted to get under the audience’s skin, using a tech-appropriate medium, and make sure they had an experience they would never forget: one that would change how they think and importantly, how they behave. One of the problems faced by every road safety body is that the consequences of drink driving are abstract to people that have never felt them. It’s hard to imagine losing your licence, ending up in prison, killing someone, or being left with permanent disabilities because most of us have never experienced these things. We can logically understand them, but we don’t feel them. For the first time, using Virtual Reality, we could create a shocking and deeply resonant immersive experience and make these consequences feel real.

Project activities

If you work together with external partners, list the most important partners and briefly describe their role. 
The Irish Court Services - the court scene in Consequences was filmed in the Criminal Court of Justice to make the experience as real as possible. Some people would never have seen the inside of a court room. This was the first time filming was permitted inside the court. An Garda Siochana - we received legal advice from them in terms of enforcement and law. They were also on site at the filming of the crash scene which took place in Ireland to ensure that we were filming everything correctly and also to ensure that the scene was safe for filming. The Irish Fire Service - we needed their expert help in what their role would be at the scene of a collision.
Please describe the project activities you carried/are carrying out and the time period over which these were implemented. 
Our response was ‘Consequences’: a cut-through VR experience that toured the country and challenged the user by putting them in the shoes of a drunk driver, bringing this serious message home in a completely new and immersive way. Different storylines allowed the user to experience the full extent of the agonising consequences of drink driving—from injury to prosecution—but all with the luxury of being able to take the headset off at the end, something you don't get to do in the real world. The aim in this piece was for users to come out of it saying: “That was uncomfortable” and the film was made to provoke feelings of unpleasantness and strangeness - of consequences that once set in motion, are difficult to avoid. While we also wanted the experience to feel real we also wanted to add a cinematic element to it, to make it more engaging and memorable - to help people really rethink their actions after the experience had ended. Additional visual effects, transitions and SFX played a vital role in transporting users from scene to scene to illicit the required emotions throughout the narrative. Music and titles also played an important role at the start of the story to capture the user's attention and make them realise this wasn't typical VR. The experience’s stark ending featured no titles or music, just uncomfortable, dead silence hammering home the consequences of the user’s actions. Work began on this project which was completed by end of 2018. This VR experience is now available to Road Safety educators in the Road Safety Authority who bring them into classrooms and companies. The Consequences VR is also installed in the RSA's interactive shuttle which travels around the Republic of Ireland visiting schools, festivals and community events https://www.rsa.ie/road-safety/education/road-safety-road-shows . We have the opportunity now of bring road safety into people's school, company and community. The full experience is also available to download from the Oculus Go store and is also available from Google cardboard, Gear VR and YouTube 360. We continue to build on this experience and continuously updating to latest Oculus software to ensure the VR can be delivered to all.
List the actions you carried/are carrying out 
Date 
Thursday, 2 June, 2022

Evaluation

What has been the effect of the activities? 
With “Consequences”, we used innovative new technology to immerse the target audience in an experience to make them feel, think and behave differently. This unique VR experience was delivered at scale using smartphone technology and VR headsets on a RSA roadshow shuttle that visited schools, colleges, festivals, national and community events, companies and other places where drink driving can happen. The results? In Ireland over 200,000 people have experienced ‘Consequences’ so far, and the demand for exposure to the experience continues to grow. The RSA having a waiting list of schools and colleges and events asking for the dedicated shuttle bus, and the immersive Consequences experience, to visit their area. The experience is also available on Oculus Go, Google Cardboard, YouTube 360°, and Vimeo 360° making it one of Ireland's most accessible high-end VR activations. Most importantly, this innovative VR experience has already changed lives, saved lives and is inspiring tomorrow's drivers to change their behaviour. Ireland won the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index Award in 2019. proving that mediums like VR really can change behaviours and have a positive social impact on society. “I wish I had experienced this before I lost my license”: Recovering alcoholic at a college demo of the virtual reality experience. Afterwards, he took several of the Google Cardboard versions to his local AA meeting.
Please briefly explain why your initiative is a good example of improving road safety. 
Experienced through the medium of virtual reality, “Consequences” brings the audience on a shocking journey, one which leads the user to one of two possible, but inevitable conclusions, both of which highlight the scale of tragedy that can befall someone who is foolish enough to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol. Employing a 360° video camera technique, “Consequences” thrust the user in to an immersive environment, one unlike anything most would have experienced through the medium before, and one which puts the user front and centre of a devastating journey, one which was created with the intention to linger and last with the user long after they have taken the headset off.
How have you shared information about your project and its results? 
We have shared information on the project through the media in both Ireland and UK. Images of the VR experience have also been shared on RSA.ie as well as on social media platforms. We also promote Consequences in the RSA's Educational Newsletter which goes into every secondary school in Ireland every September as part of the Back to School campaign. Consequences” has been experienced by over 200,00 people on board the RSA’s shuttle roadshow at schools and events across the country, as well as in classrooms and exhibitions through Oculus Go headsets and Google Cardboard. Consequences was also on display in 2019 at the National Ploughing Championships where people from the age of 16 upwards had an opportunity to try it out and experience it. Up to 80,000 people per day visited the National Ploughing Championships which took place over 3 days. Images supplied of this event.

Supporting materials

Consequences VR in use at the National Ploughing Championships in 2019
RSA Interactive Shuttle which travels nationwide with VR on board
VR being used on Shuttle at event in Co. Meath in May 2022
This is our lock up promoting Consequences.