Guide: community programmes for young road users
The safety and well-being of young road users is a major concern for many communities. Young people, especially in their first year of driving, are vulnerable as road users.
What is the best approach?
In order to be effective, research shows that community road safety groups should ensure that road safety programmes and campaigns are delivered in the following ways:
- Programmes include multiple actions integrated into an overall plan and delivered over time.
- Only evidence-based programmes are implemented and supported.
- Programmes aim to enhance and encourage a safer culture in the local community.
- Programmes engage directly with young people, their parents, whānau and community groups or settings important in young people’s lives.
What content should be included?
Many aspects of young road user safety can be incorporated into effective community programmes. There is research evidence to suggest that community programmes should inform and support drivers, their parents and whānau in a number of ways.
- Support learner drivers undertaking supervised driving practice to progress through the Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS) and restricted drivers to manage the passenger and night driving restrictions.
- Support all drivers under 20 with strategies to comply with the zero-alcohol limit for young drivers.
- Help novice drivers to develop good decision-making strategies and form the supportive peer relationships they need to be a safe driver.
- Strengthen novice drivers’ vital skills for safe driving, including: assessing themselves, reading the road environment, resisting peer pressure, managing distractions and planning ahead.
- Help drivers learn about the importance of choosing a safe vehicle and keeping it well-maintained.
- Support parents, whānau to be good road safety role models, and to develop strategies to reduce the risks their children face as road users.
- Focus on drink driving through mechanisms to reduce access to alcohol among young people and mechanisms to discourage unsafe driving practices in the community.
What good practice community programmes might look like
Road safety groups should implement multi-action, evidence-based programmes that either address novice driver safety more generally, or focus on drink driving in their community. These programmes should involve community partners such as the New Zealand Police and other agencies supporting youth.
Assisting Novice Drivers
- Encourage local schools to adopt an effective road safety education approach and use the NZ Transport Agency’s resources.
- Help disseminate information and materials about how parents can assist their children. Promote the NZ Transport Agency’s Drive website and Young Driver Advertisements and disseminate the practical tips through local community organisations such as sporting clubs, church groups and youth workers.
- Promote the use of the NZ Transport Agency’s Tips for Buying a Used Car, Right Car website and Check Your Car Flyer to encourage safe vehicle choice among young drivers and their parents.
- Promote key messages from the NZ Transport Agency about driver distraction, in particular to ensure young drivers do not breach the restriction on using mobile phones.
- Support the establishment and maintenance of local Learner Driver Mentor programmes.
- Hold a Share the Road session for young drivers and passengers using the Share the Road guide to campaigns about speed, driveway safety, giving way and cycling courtesy.
Reducing drink driving
- Encourage all sporting clubs, especially those with young members, to reinforce the key messages of NZ Transport Agency campaigns.
- Discourage underage drinking by working with community partners at local licensed venues and supporting the enforcement of the law governing licences to sell alcohol.
- Support the use and installation of coin-operated breath testing devices in licensed venues and community events to create awareness and understanding of breath alcohol and drug limits when driving.
- Promote the law regarding the supply alcohol to people under 18. Use the website developed by the Health Promotion Agency.
- Work with relevant community agencies to provide alternative transport to and from venues or events that may be associated with high levels of alcohol consumption.
- Promote local police enforcement of drink driving laws across the local community.
Where to find resources?
Road safety education: NZ Transport Agency Education Portal
Information about teens and alcohol: The New Zealand Health Promotion Agency
The law and drink driving: New Zealand Police School Portal
What approaches and programmes community groups should avoid?
There is research evidence to suggest that some approaches are not likely to be effective for young road users.
Community groups should avoid programmes and initiatives that:
- involve off-road driver training and especially avoid any track-based driving skill based programmes
- are one-day or one-off events and forums
- rely on fear appeals or involve trauma ward visits, or testimonials from crash victims or offenders
- rely on driver simulation or utilise alcohol impairment goggles
- rely on providing information or facts alone to create behaviour change.