The recent plans put forward by the Road Safety Authority is missing the point and will do little to alleviate the road carnage in Ireland
Whilst the measures go a long way to combat reckless driving the research from countries such as Sweden indicate that it is too late at 16 or 17 to instill discipline into young drivers.
Research also shows that attitudes about safety are formed at an early age, long before legal driving, and on that basis it would also be important to target young adolescents.We must give them the ability to recognise danger long before they will think about driving a vehicle.
The research also suggests that providing extra driving lessons at teenager stage will initially reduce their crash incidents but after about 18 months they return to their original habits.In analyzing what a driver needs to know in order to drive safely, it emerges that good maneuvering skills alone are not enough. A driver must also have the will to behave correctly and the experience needed to enable him or her to behave correctly. A driver must also understand that the social context affects what a person can do, wants to do, and is permitted to do as a driver. To be able to drive successfully, every learner must learn what is correct behavior in different situations, what can affect behavior, and how to develop thinking to be able to evaluate him- or herself, driving, and choice of transport in various situations.
After searching through some 1300 studies of possible relevance, UK researchers identified twenty-four randomised control trials which sought to evaluate the outcomes of post licence driver education courses Although there was some evidence of program attendance being associated with a small reduction in later traffic offences, there was no evidence that the programs were effective in reducing crashes or injuries.
Attendance at skid training programs in Norway has been associated with increased, rather than reduced, crash involvement – an outcome which was attributed to participants’ subsequent driving styles being influenced by an over-confidence in being able to handle emergency situations.
The recent tragedies in Donegal and Kerry and the inevitable deaths will continue to cause heartbreak but we must change our attitude to safety at a young age and parents have a big influence in this area and can assist the RSA and other groups to combat the scourge of road death and injuries. It is estimated that 1.2 people die each year as a result of road accidents and another 50 million are involved in non fatal crashes.
We have a duty to educate our children and ourselves as to the danger of car travel