This paper highlights the strategic approach taken towards youth road safety education in Western Australia. It provides a working example of how research findings have been formulated into strategic action through the development of a targeted road safety education program for young Western Australians.
A model of best practice for the development of road safety education initiatives, particularly in regard to Priority 6 - special groups and issues (youth, those living in rural and remote areas) as identified as National Road Safety Priorities is presented and an opportunity for discussion on the advances in research and practice in road safety education will be provided.
The topics covered, including the identification of key target age groups, a focus on the role of parents in road safety education and the development of strategic alliances for implementation, will be of significant interest to conference delegates as they provide examples of practical strategies that can be used by a range of road safety professionals to address issues in local and/or state-wide contexts.
Abstract: Road Safety Education for 0-20 Year Olds in Western Australia ? a Targeted Approach.
In November 2000, Barry Elliott, Independent Research and Communication Psychologist, presented his paper, Review of Good Practice: Children and Road Safety Education to the Road Safety Council of Western Australia. The review investigated a number of Australian and international road safety education programs and made recommendations for the development of a comprehensive road safety education program for young Western Australians.
The report, which highlighted the importance of identifying key target age groups, focusing on the role of parents in road safety education and developing strategic alliances for effective implementation, lead to the Road Safety Council establishing the Children and Road Safety Steering Committee, which coordinated the initiatives of a number of working parties during 2001 and 2002.
Following Elliot?s report and consultation with the working parties, a policy document titled Road Safety Policy for Infants, Children and Young People in Western Australia, describing all the initiatives to be implemented, was endorsed by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services in August 2002. The Road Aware Program (RAP) was subsequently launched in September 2002.
Windows of Opportunity
The main recommendations in the policy paper related to the identification of three key age groups (0-4 year olds, early primary students and pre-drivers) as ?windows of opportunity? for road safety education.
These age groups were identified as being significant times at which children are engaged in a number of specific road safety issues, including restraints for infants, pedestrian safety for school children and driving safety for pre-drivers. In addition, these key times represented periods where parents are actively engaged in their child?s road safety.
The Road Aware Program has comprehensively planned three strategies in accordance with these key target age groups. These include:
? Road Aware Parents (0-4 years)
? Road Aware Kids (4-14 years ? with a focus on early primary years)
? Road Aware Drivers (15 ? 20 years)
These strategies include child restraint checking systems and providers; road safety curriculum resources; a pre-driver course for 15 and 16 year olds; and supporting parent packages.
Existing networks within Health, Education and Road Safety fields were identified in order to assist in the implementation of the three programs throughout the large geographical area of Western Australia.
In particular, in acknowledging the Health Promoting Schools Framework, developed by World Health Organisation, the Road Aware Program aims to utilise an established network of trainers linked to the School Drug Education Project?s Regional Organising Committees throughout Western Australia. This network of trainers, developed through a strategic alignment with a ?sister? program the School Drug Education Project provides training for teachers and other agencies, support and the provision of resources, policy development and helps to foster community involvement. This strategic alignment will enable the success and sustainability of a focused road safety education initiatives for the young people of Western Australia.