Road Safety Education is a broad based activity which deals with ideas and concepts such as hazard perception and management of personal risk in the road environment, the development of coping strategies, and encourages understanding of our personal responsibilities to other road users. It is a gradual process, which takes place over a number of years.
Every local authority has a road safety team or, in the case of some smaller unitary authorities, a road safety officer. Their role is to provide professional expertise to identify the causes of problems and to help to identify, develop and deliver solutions to those problems. This will be through educational programmes, skills training e.g. cyclist and young driver training, and publicity campaigns and programmes to inform, raise awareness and to encourage positive and discourage negative behaviours by road users.
A main priority for Road Safety Wales Partners’ in advancing child road safety education is to advise and support parents, carers, pre-school staff and teachers on both best practice and the resources that are available to them. We encourage pre-school staff and teachers to include safety education within the context of their normal classroom work.
Support can include the provision of resources, which may be produced by the Authority or obtained from other organisations, and training for staff on their use. Road Safety Officers can also offer guidance to teachers on the selection of indicators designed to test the effectiveness of specific inputs with groups of pupils.
Where possible, Road Safety Officers liaise with teacher training colleges to provide training sessions for student teachers on the importance of road safety and how it can be integrated into the curriculum.
Road Safety Officers will disseminate good ideas to schools, colleges and other organisations that may relate to children or adults.
Driver education and adult education are also areas in which the Road Safety Officer will be able to give considerable help and advice, working with employers to ensure the safety of staff while using the road and managing their occupational road risk.
This initiative, promoted in some Local Authorities in Wales, combines several safety disciplines into one project. Year 6 pupils spend up to 20 minutes at each interactive station, each dedicated to an aspect of safety. Road safety subjects include being seen, travelling in cars and safe cycling.
For further information on availability in your area, contact your local Road Safety Officer.
Junior Road Safety Officers Scheme
The scheme empowers children to highlight road safety issues within their school. This can be done through raising awareness amongst other pupils, teachers and the community, whilst maintaining links with their Road Safety Officer. The scheme links to Citizenship, which encourages pupils to take responsibility for their own learning and decision making. It also makes pupils aware of the important issue of road safety, and links this with the National Curriculum and Key Stage 2 guidelines. For further details log onto www.jrsocymru.org.uk
As an example, the Mega Drive scheme was originally set up in Gwent in 1995 to address the very serious problem of young drivers being involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes, largely because of their inexperience. Mega Drive is delivered to college age students who will be planning on sitting their practical driving test in the not too distant future and may not be aware of all the potential hazards that come with driving on British roads.
Students participating in Mega Drive visit "interactive workstations" in groups of three where they learn vital information on driving related topics. These can include:
- hazard awareness
- essential documents
- crash causation
- effects and consequences of drink and drugs
- buying a new or second hand car
- what to do at the scene of a crash
Year after year the workstation that proves to be the most popular is when the students get the opportunity to get into the driver’s seat. They are given the opportunity to drive around a special course whilst accompanied by an approved driving instructor. This often gives the students their first taste of what being behind the wheel is really like.
To check the availability of pre-driver schemes in your area contact your local Road Safety Officer.
Crashed Car Presentations
These projects consists of road safety presentations delivered by local Road Safety Officers, Police and Fire & Rescue Service staff. It is directed at small groups and is delivered in a rotation of approximately 20 minute duration. Using this format it is possible to engage with approximately 200 plus pupils in a day.
The programme stresses the positive aspects of driving and the benefits it can bring to young adults. It also allows the team to focus on a variety of issues affecting young drivers such as speeding, peer pressure, seat belts, drink and drug driving and the illegal use of mobile phones.
Currently being delivered to schools and colleges, and directed at 16-18 year olds. The messages are hard hitting about the consequences of road traffic collisions, but it offers the students information and strategies to ensure they avoid becoming casualties. These themes can be developed through PowerPoint and video presentations and culminates with a 20 minute interactive session centred around a crashed vehicle. This allows the officers to speak with authority and accuracy about the consequences of a road traffic collision.
The presentations have received very positive feedback in schools and colleges from staff and pupils alike.
Safe Routes in Communities
The Welsh Government has allocated funding via its Safe Routes and Safe Routes in Communities Programmes. Successful schemes around Wales have made walking and cycling more accessible for pupils and the wider community. Welsh Government recognises the importance of active travel and the positive health benefits that come with using sustainable forms of travel for short everyday journeys.