Statistically, this is an age group at a much higher risk of death and injury on the road than any other, and road crashes are the biggest killer of this age group. At this age, young people may be thinking about learning to drive, and older students may already be driving, so raising awareness about safe and sustainable road use for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists, and helping young people to consider their travel options, is essential. Your lessons should aim to not only promote safe choices, but help young people to realise their own and other people’s responsibilities as adult road users, and empower them to feel able to challenge risky behaviour around them.
In the past, most Indigenous road safety programs have not been designed by Indigenous people . Now, however, it is understood that the best road safety programs for Indigenous Australians are those that are led by a community-based road safety educator and involve consultation with Indigenous people, group work and ‘hands-on' learning .
The Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, with assistance from the states and territories, holds an Indigenous road safety forum once every two years. The Forum aims to improve on ideas and programs in Indigenous road safety. People attending this forum are from organisations that play an important role in Indigenous road safety, from federal, state and territory transport, health, safety, police, and sport and cultural affairs agencies.
Reducing the number of road injuries in the Indigenous community requires prevention and management programs. To be successful, these programs need strong leadership and a good working relationship between different areas and levels of government. The transportation sector (who are directly responsible for road safety) will need to work closely with the police, local government, the health sector and other relevant groups .
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau develops Road Safety Action Plans every two years. These Action Plans have specific targets that can be measured, and will help to achieve the objectives of the National Road Safety Strategy 2001-2010 . For example, one target is to add centre lines to major undivided rural roads, another is to increase random drug testing. The action plans are reviewed at the end of each two-year period.
In November 2000, Australia adopted the National Road Safety Strategy 2001-2010. This strategy provides a plan for all levels of government (federal, state/territory and local governments) and other organisations involved in road safety to work together . The main aim of the strategy is to reduce the annual number of road deaths by 40%, from 9.3 per 100,000 people in 1999 to no more than 5.6 in 2010.
Australia's approach to road safety improvement is based on the theory of the Safe System. However, there is still much to be done to make the Safe System a part of regular practice .
Linking different activities from all areas of road safety will hopefully result in fewer deaths and injuries . Road users still need to be responsible for their own safety under the Safe Systems approach - no matter how good a road is, crashes will still happen if the users do not follow the rules. But if people are aware of the risks associated with road travel they are able to make better decisions about their own behaviour.
Road safety strategies and policies are mostly run by states, territories and local governments, which conduct their own road safety programs.
The Federal Government is responsible for:
The Safe System is a ‘complete' approach to improving road safety by looking at the overall management of the system rather than the separate parts. This requires cooperation between groups such as transport agencies, urban planners, environmental agencies, industry and regional development organisations .
Survey local roads for hazards (e.g. fast traffic - your local police force may be able to visit you and carry out speed checks outside the school with the children) and for road safety measures (e.g. crossings, wide pavements, cycle paths, and lower speed limits). Show these hazards and road safety measures on a map, or take photos or videos. Create a display for other pupils and parents. You can create your own custom maps for free (or for a small cost for added customisation options) using . This could be displayed and discussed in class using an interactive white board. Use it to discuss how pupils can take advantage of safety features and safer routes, and avoid hazards, and to discuss what changes could be made in the area to improve safety. You could provide this as a report to your local authority, calling for road safety measures, and use this as the basis for a led by the students.
Study scientific improvements in road safety, such as seat belts, air bags, crash helmets, protective clothing for motorbike riders, reflective and fluorescent materials, variable speed limits on motorways. Devise science tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of such improvements, such as how reflective material glows in the dark when a light is shone on it. Stress that scientific improvements help to improve safety, but people also need to be committed to using roads safely. It’s estimated that 95% of crashes are caused by human error. You could also consider the future: could ‘driverless’ vehicle technology help to stop road casualties?
It is crucial to ensure that road safety education and training is appropriate for all pupils, including those with special educational needs (SEN). Before teaching road safety, consider if your lesson plans are suitable for any children in your class who have special educational needs.