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Paris – 3 octobre 2005 Road safety education Summary of the study undertaken by CREDOC for La Prévention Routière and la Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurance 2 Road safety education Summary of the study undertaken by CREDOC [Centre de Recherche pour l’Etude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie = Centre of Re-search for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions] for la Prévention Routière [Road Safety Organisation] and la Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurance [French Federation of Insurance Companies] Children and young people are at the heart of an education network. Where road safety educa-1tion is concerned, this network includes numerous bodies, the main ones being: parents and family members school, particularly for the youngest children specialist contributors : police, road safety personnel … driving school for the oldest and, to a lesser extent, the media. To better understand the role, positioning, impact and interaction of these different bodies, the CREDOC has, on behalf of La Prévention Routière and the Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurances, conducted a survey involving three sectors of the public: parents and the young : following a qualitative pilot phase, a telephone survey was carried out involving 745 parents and 512 of their children over 8 years of age. the education environment : in 5 educational establishments (2 secondary schools, 2 ...

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Paris – 3 octobre 2005
Road safety education
Summary of the study undertaken by CREDOC for La Prvention Routire and la Fdration Franaise des Socits dAssurance
Road safety education
Summary of the study undertaken by CREDOC [Centre de Recherche pour lEtude et lObservation des Conditions de Vie = Centre of Re-search for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions] for la Prvention Routire [Road Safety Organisation] and la Fdration Franaise des Socits dAssurance [French Federation of Insurance Companies] Children and young people are at the heart of an education network. Where road safety educa-1 tion is concerned, this network includes numerous bodies, the main ones being: and family members parents  school, particularly for the youngest children contributors : police, road safety personnel  specialist school for the oldest and, to a lesser extent, the media. driving To better understand the role, positioning, impact and interaction of these different bodies, the CREDOC has, on behalf of La Prvention Routire and the Fdration Franaise des Socits d’Assurances, conducted a survey involving three sectors of the public: parents and the youngwas: following a qualitative pilot phase, a telephone survey carried out involving 745 parents and 512 of their children over 8 years of age. the education environment: in 5 educational establishments (2 secondary schools, 2 primary schools, 1 college) groups of teachers and other staff were interviewed, and 2 complementary interviews held with heads, pupils’ parents and “extracurricular” con-tributors, after which 30 college and secondary school teachers were surveyed by tele-phone the media: 20 representatives of the media (press, television, radio, internet) were sur-veyed by telephone.
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Parents : training in being careful by example and supervision
A supervised independence Children acquire independence of movement by degrees: walking in the street without an adult starts, on average, at 9 years, riding on a bicycle on the road, on average, at 10, at the same time as independent afternoon outings. Evening outings come much later, as they occur on average at 17 years. The child’s sex also counts in the degree of independence granted to chil-dren, boys having access to it earlier. It also depends on the constraints in children’s move-ment and their environment. In this respect, entry to secondary school, often situated further away from the home than the primary school, is a pivotal moment in the assumption of inde-pendence. In the large majority of cases (88%), the assumption of independence is accompanied by con-ditions imposed by the parents. The main conditions are concerned with respect for the high-way code and with the requirement, for the child, to communicate activities and timetables. The taking of a set route needs to be imposed on small children; the fact that the child is accompa-nied by other children is ambiguous: some parents see in it a source of worry, while others are reassured by it.
1 Rules that the parents think very important when the child goes out alone
Rules that the parents think ver important Res ectin hi hwa code Telling what he’s doing Givin his timetables Takin a s ecific route Bein with other children Being alone
Overall 90% 77% 71% 51% 22% 21%
The level of parents’ supervision, symbolized by the number of rules prescribed, reduces as the age of the child increases, but still remains at a high level for children who reach majority. This level of supervision is higher for girls. Parents who consider that road safety is the number one priority impose a high level of supervision.
This parental control is carried out in an atmosphere of trust towards the child, rarely undimin-ished by past instances of disobedience.
1 The scale is established on the basis of parents’ and children’s responses to the quantitative survey 2 organizers of leisure centres, social centres …
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Graph n1 : Number of rules judged by parents to be very important at the time inde-pendence is achieved, by age of child
1 0 0 %
5 0 %
0 %
1 0 %
6 8 %
2 2 %
6 -1 3 ye a rs o ld
1 0 %
5 4 %
3 7 %
1 4 -1 7 ye a r s o l d
1 6 %
4 2 %
4 2 %
1 8 - 2 0 y e a rs o ld
2 7 %
3 7 %
3 6 %
2 1 -2 4 ye a r s o ld
fo u r o r fiv e
tw o o r t h re e
n o ru le s o r o n e ru le
A limited perception of risks on the road When questioned as to the main risks on the roads, parents, like children and young people, externalize the danger: the risk comes mainly from other people. This behaviour goes with a high self-esteem in their capacities. It can be observed from their opinions concerning speed limits (as being sometimes unsuitable), the importance given to reflexes and the fact that one of the dangers of committing an offence is to be charged for it.
Graph n2 : The opinions of parents concerning danger on the roads
People who have drunk alcohol can take to the road
People who have good reflexes are not dangerous
The greatest risk is to be charged with an office
Unsuitable speed limits
Main risk : other people
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
agree totally agree somewhat
80%
90%
100%
Road safety ranks second in parental concerns. This ranking, which is homogeneous according to age, seems to put road risk at a high level. However it implies that no matter the age, with the exception of the oldest children, this risk is not at the heart of parental concerns. For the ones aged 8 to 13 years, mugging is the focus of worries; for teenagers, drugs take all the at-tention. The parents of boys however see this danger as a priority more often.
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The risks that parents worry most about
Under 8-13 14-17 18 years old Risks that parents worry most aboutoverall 8 years old years old years old or more Mugging 40% 48% 22% 11% 31% Road accident 28% 13% 22% 32% 26% Alcohol or drugs 10% 16% 30% 25% 20% Critical illness 15% 14% 14% 13% 14% Unemployment, failed education 6% 7% 6% 10% 7% Depression, suicide 1% 2% 6% 9% 4% However when parents talk, they attach a predominant importance to road safety education. This importance increases with the age of the child. It is greater among mothers, and particu-larly so if the woman is unlikely to commit an offence.
In relation to the w hole set of messa es that ou w an child, is road saf ety quite a no t a t he lo w prio rit y at highes t a ll prio rity prio rit y 12 % 2 % 2 7 %
quit e a high prio rity 5 9 %
The main influence of parental example When questioned on the methods of imparting values in general, parents speak of example and explanation at a rate of 80%. Example is in fact an important element of this imparting: the majority of children adopt the same behaviour as their parents. Parents do grasp the value of example: a third of them change their behaviour when their child is in the car, as do even slightly more than half of parents who behave carelessly relatively of-ten. Men alter their behaviour more often in their child’s presence.
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The influence of parental example
60%
52%

0% never accelerate at an amber light
young people whose parents declare the same behavior
55%

do not drink alcohol at parties
40%
all young people

never walk across the road when a traffic light is red
36%

never run across the road
Interpretation: 52% of young people whose parents never accelerate at an amber traffic light, never accelerate themselves at an amber light, as compared with 39% of all young people. This set of problems around parental example exists in a context where only 5% of parents state that they never act recklessly. Speed limits are the least respected rules: only 16% of parents never exceed them, while 21% do often. Other forms of careless action are also com-mitted by more than half of parents: accelerating at an amber light, following the vehicle in front very closely, and running across the road or crossing when the light is red. The scale of of-fences most often committed is identical for young people, who however commit more reckless acts on bicycles, roller skates or skate-boards, use their telephone slightly more often when driving and respect alcohol consumption limits less often.
Getting the message through by explaining: the parents feeling of competence Road accidents are the subject broached earliest with children; as a general rule, it is tackled very often by 47% of parents, and quite often by 41% of them. Journeys of parents and children together, the route to school, a television report or even the time of acquiring a new stage of independence, are the main points that trigger discussion on this subject.
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Risks tackled with the child
Risks tackled with the child
Road accident
Mugging
Alcohol or drugs
Critical illness
Unemployment, failed education
Depression, suicide
overall 92%
82%
70%
65%
67%
33%
The exact topics tackled, in keeping with the percep-tion of danger on the road, are first and foremost the imprudence of others (38% of parents); then comes information about road-signs, speed limits, and then behaviours to avoid, with instructions being specified at the time the child becomes a driver. 57% of parents use various tools (leaflets, videos, Internet…) when talking about road safety, which is lower than the rate of use of tools for other topics. Most of those who do not use them consider in fact that they do not need them; however, 27% of parents would like to have more or better tools.
The importance of education and the various ways of implementing road safety An examination of parental practice shows that road safety education is considered important for approximately three quarters of the families; this importance increases with the age of the child and depends strongly on the family environment. However, the existence of other worries often relegates this topic to the background. The examination makes it possible to distinguish three types of behaviour: those who rely on parental example, those who rely on supervision and work with other bodies in the educational field (like schools), and those who rely on a pattern of control and protection. The two first methods seem to work better to create a more prudent behaviour in their children. However the sense of their own competence, associated with their driving habit, sometimes prevents them from using external aids to perfect this education.
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School: a partnership to be built
For the parents, the legitimacy of school is unchallenged The legitimacy of road safety educational activity at school is well founded according to the majority of parents. 70% of parents find it “completely” normal, and 27% “quite” normal. This legitimacy is more ambiguous if we look at teachers. Most of them, in fact, find definite advantages in an education done through the school, furthering the development of children into “good citizens”, referring to the uniformity of treatment received by all pupils. The disadvan-tages cited when examining these benefits are of a practical nature: lack of time and training… While the great majority of teachers accept this as the school’s job, opinions are very divided as to who should take on this teaching within the school. Some teachers see themselves as educators, and consider it their duty to teach their pupils about the various elements of life which make up a society; this situation is found more often in infant classes and in priority areas of education; others value the stability of the teaching staff.
Others again see themselves more as teachers, and restrict their work with their pupils to the imparting of knowledge; these teachers are more often found in secondary schools, in particu-lar in general secondary schools.
A great diversity of the practical aspects of road safety education There are many different types of educational activity conducted and the way they are taken on. The compulsory Attestation Scolaire de Scurit Routire (School Road Safety Certificate) is often taught by a history/geography teacher, or by the head teacher. The institution’s invest-ment can go from a few hours of training, on the basis of last year’s cassettes, to the involve-ment of all the teaching staff in a road safety project. Other types of activity are more diversi-fied: outings on foot or on a bicycle, training on the rules for living in society, presentation of dangers on the road, for example via cassettes or simulations, experiences of real-life situa-tions, and educational playgrounds; they all play a part in school road safety education ; they very often require the help of external partners such as the police, mostly in infant schools.
Badly informed parents As a general rule, parents have little awareness of the educational activities carried on in the schools: only 52% of parents remember an activity; their descriptions are imprecise and their mention of the bodies taking part in these activities are vague. Moreover they are aware of this lack of knowledge, since only 15% consider themselves fully informed (31% quite well in-formed).
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Activities mentioned by the parents and the children
awareness activity
classroom activity
playground exercises
BSR [Brevet de Scurit Routire = Road Safety Certificate]
ASSR Attestations Scolaires de Scurit Routire = School Road Safety Certificate]
lAPER l’APER [Attestation de Premire Education  la Route = Primary School Road Training Certificate]
an outing
0%
16%
39%
37%
34%
69%
63%
54%
50%
Children, of course, remember the activities carried out better, half of those between 8 and 13 remembering one activity this year and 87% of the over-14s at least one activity in their school life. The classification of activities which parents and children remember is identical, but the mem-ory of each type of activity is clearer among the latter. 83%82%58% 70% 79%61%%45 24%42%66% 32% 22%73% 68% 25% 52% 14 years old plus 31% 22% 11-13 ears old 15%8-10 years old14% 47% 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%
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The great value of schools is acknowledged The usefulness of activities carried out in educational establishments is very strongly valued by parents and children alike: more than 9 out of 10 parents and children see the usefulness of these activities. As seen against this endorsement, teachers seem more mixed in their reaction. Some of them are optimists, and consider that the school, a credible source, really enables road safety mes-sages to be spread; that the opportunity to have discussions and exchanges increases the pu-pils’ absorption of the instructions, and that the requirement to obtain the “School Road Safety Certificate” (ASSR) in order to obtain a driving licence is a good motivation. Other teachers are more pessimistic, playing down their influence with the young, or at any rate minimizing it in the light of the (sometimes bad) examples given by parents and peers, or else considering that the means allocated to this teaching are not sufficient to change opinions, and still less, behaviour.
Some possible solutions for the development of road safety preven-tion at school Suggestions for improvement can be seen as following two main thrusts. The first of them is symbolized by a strengthening of the partnership around the child, the effec-tiveness of the message that comes through many bodies, and especially by the coherence of the messages. This partnership is conceived as internal to the establishments, with the creation of links with the whole of the teaching staff, but also with other agents (CDI [Centre de Docu-mentation et d’Information = Documentation and Information Centre], CPE [Conseiller Principal d’Education = Chief Education Adviser] …). It could also be external to the establishments, first of all via a strengthening of the relationships with parents, then with an increase in the number of external interventions.
The second thrust relates to the strengthening of the means allocated to road safety preven-tion, whether in the form of additional tools, increased training for those taking part in road safety education or enhancement in teaching practice, for example by creating dedicated time slots or by giving marks to the teacher.
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A certain awareness of risk
The media: ideas and difficulties
Even though they do not always place it at the top of the list of potential dangers for the young, the media recognize the importance of danger on the road for this audience. Besides, the ad-vent of road safety as a great national crusade, and the recent big drop in the road death fig-ures, make the topic attractive for the media. Also, some value the need to act like good citi-zens in informing and warning their audience.
Experiments already undertaken
Experiments are being carried out on this topic by the media, in various forms: news service treats the subject when a news event leads into it the can target a particular issue (“road-hogs”, road training courses …) documentaries  fictional programmes today are careful to see that the actors respect the highway code radio programmes and first-hand accounts, a format that is growing in popular- phone-in ity, also often use this topic  games about the highway code.
Knowledge of the best forms of communication to use The media, and particularly the youth media, have a lot of experience regarding the best meth-ods of communication to use. In particular they advise that a message should be formatted in accordance with a certain num-ber of specific criteria: the brevity of the message and its impact (highlighting the importance of the image), the creation of information by the public themselves (for example the concept of first-hand accounts), the need to not resort to blaming or moralizing, but rather to humour and information, and a close relationship with the audience.
Some obstacles Nevertheless the media can face several kinds of difficulties when handling this specific sub-ject.  The first is the difficulty in finding the « right tone », for while sexual risks can be ap-proached in a hedonistic manner, it seems more difficult to find an attractive approach for road dangers. second relates to the difficulty in finding the content and information to support the The messages.  Finally, the third relates to the complexity of the message, both at the level of audience targeted (in terms of age and means of transport used) and in terms of the multiplicity of messages to spread.
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