Should road safety be in the national curriculum?

Blog post posted on 09/05/16 |

Eloise Peabody-Rolf - IAM RoadSmart young driver ambassador

With my A-level exams looming, I’m nearing the end of my school career, which in many ways is very scary. 

Reflecting on my education I really wish that road safety had been part of the curriculum. I’m sure its absence is primarily due to the lack of suitable resources and time. However during my school career I’ve had a fair bit of info about internet and social media safety. The dangers of drink, sex and drugs. All of these things deemed necessary to prepare me for adulthood. 

Road safety (whether foot, bike, or car) has been conspicuous by its absence amongst the ‘life-skills’ being taught. All I remember is the ‘Stop, Look & Listen’ mantra drummed into us when we were very small. I believe it is both sad and surprising, considering the statistics on young road users’ deaths and injuries, that the focus is not more prevalent. It seems such a wasted opportunity.

As soon as they become aware of their environment, children observe behaviours which undoubtedly influence them, including their attitudes to road safety. Which means that ‘Do what I say, not what I do!’ does not work. This is well illustrated by this clip.

I’m certainly not suggesting schools go as far as teaching their students to drive. However giving them an understanding of risks and the consequences of actions on the road, whether as a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian, would be invaluable. With that in mind I believe road safety should be included in the national curriculum.

Schemes such as ‘DriveIQ’, ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ – which aims at 15-24s – and other schemes run by charities and local authorities, are good, but the exception.  I was lucky to be a member of the Under-17 Car Club, where road safety was instilled in me, along with having a lot of fun developing my driving skills. I can certainly advocate the benefits of well considered pre-driver education, and this encouraged me to take my IAM RoadSmart test as soon as I could.

I would love to hear your ideas on how our drivers of the future can be better prepared, enjoy their driving, and hopefully avoid becoming part of the scary statistics.