Development of an innovative technology based youth passenger safety program - an evidence-based approach
Young drivers are overrepresented in motor vehicle crash rates, and their risk increases when carrying similar aged passengers. Graduated Driver Licensing strategies have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing fatalities among young drivers, however complementary approaches may further reduce crash rates. Previous studies conducted by the researchers have shown that there is considerable potential for a passenger focus in youth road safety interventions, particularly involving the encouragement of young passengers to intervene in their peers? risky driving (Buckley, Chapman, Sheehan & Davidson, 2012). Additionally, this research has shown that technology-based applications may be a promising means of delivering passenger safety messages, particularly as young people are increasingly accessing web-based and mobile technologies. This research describes the participatory design process undertaken to develop a web-based road safety program, and involves feasibility testing of storyboards for a youth passenger safety application. Storyboards and framework web-based materials were initially developed for a passenger safety program, using the results of previous studies involving online and school-based surveys with young people. Focus groups were then conducted with 8 school staff and 30 senior school students at one public high school in the Australian Capital Territory. Young people were asked about the situations in which passengers may feel unsafe and potential strategies for intervening in their peers? risky driving. Students were also shown the storyboards and framework web-based material and were asked to comment on design and content issues. Teachers were also shown the material and asked about their perceptions of program design and feasibility. The focus group data will be used as part of the participatory design process, in further developing the passenger safety program. This research describes an evidence-based approach to the development of a web-based application for youth passenger safety. The findings of this research and resulting technology will have important implications for the road safety education of senior high school students.