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Cartoon of teenagers looking at phone.

Here are the key features of road safety education for senior secondary students.

A young person at this age:

  • often travels independently
  • may be learning to drive
  • understands that their decisions and actions affect the safety of themselves and others around roads
  • increasingly seeks to influence the world in which they live.

However, they:

  • are more likely to be involved in crashes than any other age group
  • sometimes take risks, either knowingly or unknowingly
  • are very likely to be influenced by their peers
  • may overestimate their driving ability.

The young person and their teachers, parents and whānau should check that the young person:

  • is aware that a safe system is where all users act responsibly and with consideration to ensure others can use the road safely
  • has the knowledge, skills and attitudes to operate responsibly within a road transport system
  • can make safe decisions in varied transport settings.

The young person as a driver and their supervisor (e.g. parent, whānau, driving instructor, teacher) should check that the young person:

  • understands the road rules and the rationale for these rules
  • understands their responsibility for the safety of others
  • checks a vehicle before driving to ensure it meets safe vehicle requirements
  • understands the more supervision they get when learning, the less likely they are to crash once driving alone
  • understands the conditions of the learner and restricted licences and the reasons for these conditions.


The primary learning processes involve young people:

  • critically analysing connections between road laws and rules, the behaviours of road users, and the design of roads and vehicles, in order to plan, carry out and evaluate actions that lead to safer travel
  • practising driving only when accompanied by a supervisor who has held a full driver licence for at least 2 years
  • practising driving in different conditions (night, rain, heavy traffic, hills) and describing how to drive safely in different conditions
  • developing confidence and safe driving skills as a matter of habit so they can devote more attention to observing and avoiding hazards
  • evaluating their ability to drive in a variety of situations and reviewing plans for how to cope with those situations
  • critically analysing a variety of simulated situations and transport environments and suggesting strategies to manage these safely.


Analysing advertising campaigns

Case study

A Year 12 English class looked at TV road safety adverts for the achievement standard 91107, which is about analysing visual texts.

The class at Rotorua’s Western Heights High School began by reviewing prior knowledge. They made a continuum of road behaviours ranging from acceptable to unacceptable and ended up with 100 post-it notes stuck to the wall.

Visual texts selected by her students included the TV ads ‘Ghost Chips’ and ‘Blazed’, the latter directed by Taiki Waititi.

“For the students and for me in this area, those two ads are really well understood”’ says teacher Alex Le Long.

Students had studied Waititi as a film-maker and could identify his style. Alex says selecting texts with strong relevance helps students develop deeper understanding in assessed work.

“They not only have their prior knowledge of ad campaigns and from local road safety expos but for many of them, they’re doing their driver licence.”

“It’s relevant; it’s something they’re interested in. They’ve got the skills in English for analysing the video and because they can relate to the target audience and the purpose of the text, they can relate to the assessment and the result is they show more understanding.”

English secondary curriculum resources

Investigating medicines and driving

Case study

NCEA Level 3 Health students investigated how prescription medicines can affect people’s ability to drive safely.

Health teacher Haley Charles from Upper Hutt College wrote a unit covering the issue of medication impaired driving. This refers to how some prescription medications have side effects which affect the ability of people to drive safely.

Her unit has since been published by NZTA on its Education Portal. The resource supports assessment of Achievement Standard 91461: Analyse a New Zealand health issue.

“At Level 3, Health is a lot about societal health issues, supporting students to think about the main causes and come up with strategies for harm minimisation,” says Haley.

For her students, investigating medication impaired driving was an eye opener.

“Prior to starting this unit, they had no idea this issue even existed. They were shocked. I’ve got a couple of students who work in pharmacies, so they became much more aware.”

Haley says those students were asking their employers questions and making sure they had the relevant pamphlets.

“My students are talking to their family and talking to their friends about the issue too; they are getting that word of mouth out there.”

Health curriculum resource (driving and medication impairment)

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