ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

RoadWise Safe Routes to School Accreditation Scheme

Parker, Claire, Parsons, Julie

School Safety

2001

The issue of road safety affects every Western Australian. We are at risk every time we get in a car, walk down the street, or go for a bike ride. The risk for children is even greater. Road-related trauma is the greatest cause of injury and fatality for children 12 years and under. Since 1996, more than 1,600 Western Australian school children have been injured in traffic crashes in the hours immediately prior to and immediately after school. Of these casualties, 7 were fatal and 242 required hospital treatment. These statistics highlight the importance of involving schools in road safety.

In 1994 RoadWise developed the Safe Routes to Schools program to assist local communities address their own local road safety issues through local actions and strategies. To date, over 300 Western Australian primary schools have adopted this program to create safer road environments and encourage safer road users in and around their school communities.

The Safe Routes to School Accreditation Scheme was designed to encourage and assist schools to continue with the Safe Routes to Schools program once the initial objectives have been achieved. The objective of the program is to maintain participation in road safety activities as well as to encourage innovation and creativity in road safety initiatives. The scheme aims to encourage school communities to continue working to keep our children safe on our roads.

The Accreditation Scheme rewards schools for their participation in the Safe Routes to School program, as well as promoting access to the road safety services and programs offered by other agencies such as the WA Road Safety in Schools Project, WA Police Road Safety Section, Spinal Injury Prevention Program and Kidsafe. The scheme not only provides information on these other sources of road safety information but, importantly, it provides funding for schools to enrich these existing programs and also develop new and exciting ways for road safety promotion and education.

Grants of up to $400 are made available to schools on the basis of their participation in these great programs. Schools maintaining a minimum accreditation rating are eligible for an annual grant ranging from $50 to $400 (+ GST). The rating, and hence the size of the grant, is determined by the number, extent and type of road safety activities undertaken by the school in a calendar year. At the end of Term 3, the Safe Routes to School Committee completes and submits an accreditation form listing the road safety activities completed or commenced that year, and activities confirmed for Term 4. The submission also includes copies of supporting documentation as well as copies of any publicity.

Most importantly, the accreditation scheme provides recognition and rewards to those school communities that are actively creating safer roads and safer road users. It encourages schools to think beyond the painting of blue footprints, supports their road safety commitment, and encourages innovation and continuity by providing financial support.