Targeting parents to influence the safety of their young drivers: Exploratory research informing a parent communication strategy
Parents have long been a target of road safety organisations to teach their young children safe road crossing behaviours and help their learner drivers to increase their driving experience. Research is now suggesting that parents may also have a role to play in preventing or reducing the risky behaviours of their children, as pedestrians, passengers and young drivers. Parental role modelling, parental monitoring and parental control have all been identified as potentially playing an important role in the safety of children and young people. The TAC, RACV and VicRoads recognise the potential of parental influences on risky driving behaviour and, as such, have developed a parent and road safety strategy. In developing the strategy, the TAC commissioned extensive exploratory focus group research which was conducted by Kerryn Alexander Research in Metropolitan and Outer Melbourne and the regional Victorian city of Bendigo. The purpose of the research was to investigate parents’ awareness of their child’s risk and to determine their agreement with several strategies to keep their young driver children safe, such as restricting them from late night driving in the first 3-6 months of solo driving. The outcomes of the research have been incorporated into a Parent and Road Safety Strategy and this paper will outline the findings of the research and a summary of the strategy.