Working towards a stronger safety culture
August 12 2016. Growing New Zealand’s road safety culture includes deeper learning and positive experiences for young people, say professionals.
Developing a strong road safety culture in New Zealand needs to be tackled on many levels, including promoting walking, cycling and scooting to schools, says a Wellington-based professional.
Susan Hutchinson-Daniel is the Sustainable Transport Projects Co-ordinator at Greater Wellington Regional Council. She is among road safety professionals who attended workshops on the NZ Transport Agency’s Fact Sheets.
These publications describe international research findings on effective practice in road safety initiatives for young people.
Susan says the Fact Sheets reinforce her team’s approach to long term, deeper practice with schools, including support for road safety curriculum content on a regular basis, throughout a child’s school career.
“Moving beyond one-off shock and fear tactics to deeper conversations about the road as a ‘commons’ is very helpful on many levels,” she says.
Colleague Nicky Morrison says Fact Sheets provide guidance around what works and what doesn’t in teaching road safety to young people.
“This will be helpful for working with educators in the future. Having information about evidence-based practices is highly valuable as it gives weight to the reasons why things are done a certain way, particularly if change is involved.”
Susan says a road safety culture should also include supportive safe experiences for young people.
“If children grow up with the expectation that they can walk, scoot or cycle safely to school, and around their local community, they’ll have a healthier perspective on sharing the road as young drivers.
“Similarly, as more and more young people are active on their journey to school, their parents and grandparents may adjust their driving accordingly, accepting lower speed zones and potentially even “no car” zones around schools and suburban centres.”
Susan is moving in her own work towards deeper relationships with secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
“I’m interested in hearing from local teachers who have used the NZ Transport Agency’s secondary school resources, and who are willing to share what they learned, so we encourage other teachers to use them.”
She says the development of NCEA credits for driver licences is a huge step in the right direction.
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