The project

Rational, Objectives, Innovation


A substantial number of people die in traffic-related accidents every year. Among children and youth (age 10–24 years), injuries are the leading cause of death, claiming more lives than any other cause. Adolescents are often thought to be excessive risk-takers, especially in social contexts. Research shows that adolescents, despite having a high knowledge of traffic rules, are likely to violate them. To this end, peer group influence represents a key factor. Adolescents are particularly susceptible to peer influence for several reasons. Firstly, adolescents align their behaviour over time with the norms of their group or the group they want to belong to – a process known as peer socialization. Secondly, adolescents may find it particularly rewarding to gain social status, a potential outcome of aligning with peers. Third, adolescents tend to conform to a group norm (which sometimes means taking a risk) to avoid the social risk of being excluded.

In fact, during 12-15 years teenagers undergo a period of significant cognitive, physical, and emotional development. During this development, teenagers have inhibited risk-based decision-making skills and heightened emotional responses and social motivation due to hormonal changes. In this period, teenagers are significantly influenced by peers, while the role of parents as role models decreases, due to an increased focus on social values and peers. Once children reach 16 years of age, they have the opportunity to officially enter the licensing system. At this age, teenagers need to be educated on hazard perception, positive road safety attitudes, and recognition of risks such as speed, distraction, alcohol, fatigue and also build cognitive behavioural skills that will enable independent decisions and will resist peer pressure whether as driver, passenger, pedestrian or rider.

Until now, interventions and campaigns aimed at increasing maturity in adolescent behaviour are often unsuccessful because they are adult-led and usually aim at increasing adolescents’ knowledge and awareness of road safety risks without taking into account adolescents’ social contexts, the social influence parameters and developmental socio-emotional characteristics of adolescence which affect their decision-making processes.

Teaching students how to deal with negative peer pressure and empowering them to make safe decisions in the context of commuting (transportation with or without a vehicle), and also in other contexts, could be of high importance for reaching more mature decisions and safeguarding their quality of life for their future.
Furthermore, adolescents have been proven to often overestimate their driving ability (e.g. driving after alcohol consumption, high-speed driving, distracted driving), while also lacking the skills to avoid difficult social situations (e.g. drunk driving after a party) and frequently result in accidents requiring emergency medical attention.


The utmost goal of the project would be to mitigate the number of accidents and corresponding deaths among young people in the next decade and after. The realistic objectives of the project are:

  1. Increase teachers’ competencies in teaching students how to deal with negative peer pressure and empower them to make safe decisions in the context of commuting, even in the face of peer pressure. This involves teaching assertiveness skills and providing students with the tools and information they need to make safe decisions.
  2. Raise teachers’ and parents’ awareness about positive peer influence by highlighting the role that friends can play in promoting safe driving habits. This involves discussing the importance of setting a good example for others and how to positively influence others to make safe driving choices.
  3. Introduce secondary school students to real-life dilemmas, helping them to become more competent decision-makers across different social contexts. This includes addressing common misconceptions that young drivers may have about road safety and reckless driving, such as the belief that these behaviors are acceptable or that accidents are rare.
  4. Promote learning and skills among secondary school students with particular emphasis on hazard perception, emotional regulation, and balanced decision-making.
  5. Develop Digital tools (VR tool and an Emergency-aid tool) as innovative pedagogical tools by tailoring interventions to the developmental affordances of secondary school students using life scenarios of adolescent behavior.
  6. Develop a concrete Pedagogical Handbook for the teachers to teach students about hazard perception and safe commuting in class. We strongly believe that the priorities of the project and the main axes of intervention will address the selected priorities as it will help students acquire at least as many competencies as possible in making safe choices and adopting behaviors of safe commuting. The project is expected to produce a cluster effect in adolescents’ mentality by promoting transferability and scaling up safe behaviours in other significant contexts and life circumstances. The innovative digital methodology that will be used, promoting personalized and self-paced learning, along with the pedagogical material will all facilitate the promotion of the student’s key competencies and will offer a unique chance for teachers to further develop their skills.

The project objectives are mainly directed to the school community, and especially to teachers working with children aged 11-17 years old; as such, anyone who is involved in secondary education can benefit from this project:


The SAFETeen project aims to build on innovation by the creation of innovative resources and materials as well as pedagogical practices for training in education on safe commuting as listed below:

  1. A student-centered approach with a playful method to learn, with a self-paced, personalized learning process.
  2. Problem-based and experiential learning that promotes active learning driven by well-established learning needs, identified through rigorous participatory research methods, which includes students and teachers as co-designers of research and project interventions.
  3. Design digital tools, with a high level of interaction, identifying the training needs of the users and providing them with immediate feedback, clear goals, and challenges that are matched to their skill level. A virtual reality (VR) tool to provide students with an immersive and interactive learning experience with highly realistic simulations that allow students to experience the dangers of reckless behaviour while commuting and the consequences of poor decisions, in a safe and controlled simulated environment. An innovative digital emergency aid tool for self-assessment of fitness to commute, by using state-of-the-art technologies and methods. There is no similar tool to facilitate self-assessment of fitness to commute.
  4. The project is expected to produce a cluster effect in adolescents’ way of thinking by achieving changes in certain contexts that will be transferred and scaled up in other significant contexts and life circumstances.
  5. The project will generate knowledge via interdisciplinary collaboration, which will be useful for cross-curricula learning in school teaching.
  6. Builds on the assets of schools that cultivate long-term mechanisms for community development and sustainable community change.