Promoting deeper thinking and better decision making about road safety, by school students as drivers and passengers.
Promoting deeper thinking and better decision making about road safety, by school students as drivers and passengers. Meehan, G New South Wales Centre for Road Safety Email: Greg_Meehan@rta.nsw.gov.au Abstract: Road safety education has been delivered in all NSW schools as part of a mandatory curriculum for the last twenty years however road safety for adolescents is based, not simply on knowledge, but on the attitudes and behaviours of young people using the road environment. The redevelopment of the NSW secondary school road safety education resources has sought to address the ways in which road safety is communicated to young people within the school environment. Whilst road safety education is a mandatory component in the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabus in both Primary (K-6) and Secondary (Years 7-10), there is no such pathway in the senior schools years (Years 11-12). A strategy to address this gap was to develop a resource that met the needs of both the students and teachers in the senior school years through the area of Student Welfare/Pastoral Care. Limiting risks, protecting lives “ choices for novice drivers and their passengers, is a road safety education resource that targets senior school students. It provides teaching and learning strategies to challenge students' attitudes to driving and road use, whilst promoting deeper thinking and better decision making about road safety by students as drivers and passengers. The development of the resource has utilised a variety of materials to meet the needs of the school community. The resource consists of seven modules and each module has a clear theme and is comprised of a number of varied activities designed to support the delivery of key road safety messages for this age group (16-18 year olds). It aims to challenge student attitudes and values and encourages young people to question their behaviour, increasing the likelihood that they will internalise the key messages and act on them. The focus on each activity is clearly placed on the responsibilities of the passenger and the driver. State-wide professional development for teachers on the use of the resource has been provided as part of this resource's distribution. The implementation strategy was conducted through professional development sessions by the education sectors (Department of Education, Catholic Education and Independent schools) with schools that attended receiving copies of the resource during the 2010 school year. This paper provides an opportunity for those working in road safety, in a variety of settings, to consider the concept of road safety using a framework that can be adapted to meet the needs of the audience. This model of delivery has been trialed by students and teachers and received substantial endorsement as a tool for influencing the attitudes and beliefs of young people with regard to road safety. Key words Education; schools; road safety; driver; passenger; young people.