ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Road Safety Education and Training from a Public Health Perspective

Christie, Ron



From a public health perspective, road safety education and training seem to be largely ineffective. There is little scientific evidence to suggest that they contribute to reduced risk, injury or fatality among those targeted. Some programs do influence road user behaviour and reduce the crash risk and/or injury of road users but these appear to be in the minority. Education and training programs may also do more harm than good by increasing exposureto- risk among some road users. They also represent a diversion of funds, resources and attention away from betterbased and more effective countermeasures.

Road safety advertising has a place in road safety, but only to support legislative and enforcement programs such as those targeting high-risk behaviours (eg drink driving and speeding). While there is some controversy about how effective such supporting advertising actually is, myths that road crashes, deaths and injuries can be reduced by television and media advertising alone should be rejected.

Road safety professionals and governments need to be more questioning of the worth of educational and training approaches and have the courage to say ?NO? to advocates, lobbyists and politicians who want to expend road safety funds and resources on unproven education and training programs. There should also be more evaluation of program outcomes, less assumption that education, training and advertising work in road safety terms and a rejection of the view that improvement in awareness, knowledge and skill is indicative of likely behavioural or injury/crash reduction effect.