students_workingSince 2017, the South Australia Police (SAPOL) and Match Studio's partnership has given University of South Australia students the opportunity to creatively respond to real-world challenges, such as violent extremism, driver distraction, and road safety forsenior drivers.

In 2022, SAPOL requested that Match Studio’s interdisciplinary design research topic, focus on creating campaigns and products that could encourage safer driving behaviour in younger drivers.

Run during semester two, 'Match Studio Project' enrolled three student cohorts from across a range of creative industries degrees, guiding them through the design thinking process and helping them understand how their diverse disciplinary skills can be used to develop a professional solution to a client brief. After participating in a SAPOL briefing session, students formed teams and began researching the topic of younger drivers, looking at statistical breakdowns, academic articles, and previous safety campaigns. This research then informed an ideation phase during which each team prepared three potential campaigns or products and shared them with SAPOL representatives for feedback. In the final stage, teams refined their chosen idea, preparing visual and written material before giving a professional presentation to SAPOL in the project’s final class.

Improving road safety for younger drivers is a crucial issue for SAPOL, as the younger age demographic is over-represented in road trauma statistics. Between 2015-2019, people aged 16 to 24 years comprised 18% of all fatalities and 20% of all serious injuries on South Australian roads, despite this demographic only making up 11% of the population (Department for Infrastructure and Transport 2020). In total, 19 lives lost on South Australian roads in 2021 were between the ages of 16 to 24 years, as well as 188 serious injuries and 878 injuries, a rate of over two per day (SAPOL Briefing 2022).

Reasons given for this over-representation include driver inexperience and/or over-confidence, comparatively cheaper vehicles with less safety features, as well as driver behaviours falling under the ‘Fatal Five’: drink and drug driving, speeding, distraction, seatbelts, and dangerous road users (SAPOL Briefing 2022). During the client briefing, SAPOL identified challenges to reaching this age demographic, such as younger people eschewing traditional media such as network television, younger people being more concerned about ‘social death’ instead of actual harm, and younger people ignoring authority figures, including
SAPOL (SAPOL Briefing). 

Jane with SAPOLstudent pointing