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Students wait to cross road.These fact sheets describe research findings on effective practice in road safety initiatives for young people.

Road safety practitioners, community groups, funding bodies, and schools around New Zealand can use these on conjunction with the Guidelines for Assessing Road Safety Education for Young People to review their practices.

Detailed evaluations are available from injury prevention initiatives internationally and there is now a reasonable body of evidence about what works and what doesn’t. Some of the key findings are summarised in these fact sheets.

The fact sheets are adapted for New Zealand from a series published in Victoria, Australia, with kind permission of the Victorian Road Safety Education Reference Group:

Research – Road Safety Education Victoria(external link)


Research summary: Effective community and school based road safety for young people

The risk of crash involvement among young and novice drivers is due to factors that may include inexperience, especially in complex driving situations; motivational factors; the effect of peers; and broader lifestyle factors across the young driver population. This fact sheet covers:

  • road safety intervention approaches that do work.
  • road safety intervention approaches that do not work.
  • content of road safety programmes targeting young road users and their parents.
  • road safety programmes for young offenders.

Research summary: Effective community and school based road safety for young people [PDF, 165 KB]

Guide: community programmes for young road users

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.

Guide: community programmes for young road users [PDF, 151 KB]

Guide: Road safety education in secondary schools

Secondary schools can play an important role in improving road safety actions taken by their students. Effective road safety education:

  • happens over time and is developmentally appropriate,
  • embeds content in the New Zealand Curriculum,
  • involves a whole-school approach ensuring that appropriate traffic safety policies and teacher support is in place,
  • is based on best evidence about effective teaching and learning,
  • fosters school connectedness – the extent to which students feel accepted and included in the school community,
  • is monitored and evaluated.

Guide: Road safety education in secondary schools [PDF, 196 KB]

What doesn’t work for young road users and why

This is a summary of the research evidence around a range of approaches that are not effective in changing the behaviour of young road users. These include:

  • fear tactics
  • one-off events or forums
  • driver simulation
  • track-based and advanced driver skills training
  • information only approaches.

What doesn’t work for young road users and why [PDF, 154 KB] 

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