The European Night Without Accident is an awareness campaign about road safety organized each year in nightclubs all
over Europe on the 3rd Saturday of October.
The action was first launched in Belgium by the Responsible Young Drivers in 1995. It was immediately a huge success.
The volunteers were warmly welcomed and RYD decided to renew the event every year. In 2003, the European
Commission started to support the project and 4 other European countries started to organize it too. From that
year, the number of European countries hosting the event grew every year:
• 2003 – 4
• 2004 – 7
• 2005 – 10
• 2006 – 13
• 2007 – 16
• 2008 – 20
• 2009 – 25
• 2010 – 27
• 2011 – 27
• 2012 - 27
In 2013, the European Night Without Accident was present in all 28 Member States. About 900 volunteers took place in 300 nightclubs all over Europe and reached over 10000 youngsters.
It takes place in two phases. First, at the entrance of the nightclubs, the volunteers, aged between 17 to 29 years old, encourage each group to choose a “designated driver”, who agrees to make a promise: he commits himself to be sober when he sits behind the wheel of his vehicle. The volunteers ask the clubbers who want to participate to wear a bracelet to be recognizable.
When the “designated drivers” leave the nightclub, we give them the opportunity to undergo a breath analysis to check if they have honored their commitment. In some nightclubs, drivers will also be asked, on a voluntary basis, to do a drug test. If they are under the legal limit, the “designated drivers” are rewarded with small presents offered by our sponsors. If this is not the case, we encourage the person to leave his/her car on the side or to hand the keys to a friend who did not drink any alcohol or used drugs.
Our goal is not to be repressive or to spread a negative message; on the contrary we always try to dialogue with the group in order to find the most reasonable solution to get back home safely.
The particularity of the European Night Without Accident is to organize a unique event run by young people who want to convince other young people about the importance of a responsible behavior behind the wheel”, which is credible with young people. Young people are speaking to other young people and share their experience. This dialogue between youngsters is the major asset of the event. The use of a simple language and the friendliness of the exchanges enable the message to be conveyed further and is surely more persuasive. Volunteers do not use a repressive or superior approach, nor a ‘fatherly-motherly’ tone, which are attitudes that young people refuse and don’t want to understand. Their role is not to moralize youngsters or judge them but to stay cool, be confident and inform youngsters about road safety issues.
The message that the volunteers are sending to youngsters is “Prove to your friends that you can bring them back home safely”. They insist on the fact that youngsters surely don’t want to kill their friends while driving. Indeed it is very important for youngsters to protect each other. They care more about others than themselves. Volunteers explain to them how you can party and be responsible at the same time.
Changing young people's mentality
The most important aim of the project partners is to draw young people’s attention to the importance of the responsible driving and to reduce the number of the accidents in which young people are involved. The method: to insist on the necessity of modifying the driver’s behavior, which is the only way to obtain permanent results. In a long term, a positive approach of the problem gets better results.
NEW ENWA CAMPAIGN
After doing the same campaign for almost twenty years now, it is time to give it a new fresh start by mixing the action with another campaign. The idea is to mix the ENWA with the City-Zen project, which combine road safety with other topics like citizenship, sex and drugs.
This project was created by the French Association “Avenir Santé” in 2011. The objective is to make a city “zen” by informing, sensitizing and counselling youngsters in order to prevent street violence and related lifestyle issues. The project is also based on a peer-to-peer approach. The action consists of a team of 6 “City-Zens” (3 boys and 3 girls) who were trained and equipped with tools such as breathalysers, drug tests, safeguard cards and fake joints. They fix an itinerary close to different crowded areas and to festive places (universities, pubs, festivals, nightclubs…). They go meet people at night and during daytime.
ENWA & City-Zen
The idea is to add the drink&drive topic to the City-Zen campaign. Instead of only going to nightclubs during the European Night Without Accident, we will find youngsters where they are, not only at night but also during the day. We will then have 2 actions during the ENWA: the City-Zen campaign during the day and the action in nightclubs at night. For more information, please go on the website of the campaign: www.cityzen-europe.eu
The European Night Without Accident has been selected by the European Commission as a flagship project in the framework of the European Year of