The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) one of the leading road safety charities in the UK believe that traffic education should become a central part of the National Curriculum. Making traffic education part of the curriculum is part of the charity’s commitment to cutting the number of young people being killed and seriously injured on roads around the country.
The IAM has called for a real commitment to traffic education in our schools and their call links into a recent French survey carried out by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) which found that only seven of fifteen European countries had mandatory traffic education in their schools. Currently, according to the survey, traffic education is compulsory in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, Latvia and the Czech Republic. The other countries surveyed, including the UK, only have voluntary programmes currently in place and many schools are not committed to ensuring the traffic awareness of their pupils.
In their manifesto, The Institue of Advance Motorists commit to reducing young driver risk and they believe their call for road safety education to be part of the curriculum as integral to this. We need only look to Europe to see what sort of programmes are working and how we could implement something similar here.
European Traffic Education
Here’s a closer look at what some of the countries with effective and mandatory road safety education in place are doing. In Germany two years are dedicated to teaching children how to ride bicycles in traffic whilst in Poland they teach the rules of the road, specifically relating to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders are taught at seven and then again at fifteen.
In Italy they have a three part course in primary schools which looks at road rules, the environment and health considerations and they try to bring in outside organisations to deliver courses and information sessions too. In Latvia the provision is even more in depth with traffic skills tested after several grades throughout the pupil’s time at school, with age appropriate tests including everything from knowing your route from home to school to understanding the responsibilities of a driver or cyclist using the roads.
Road Traffic Accident Figures Reducing
As we’ve discussed previously, the number of people being killed or seriously injured in UK roads is decreasing. The number has been decreasing at a steady rate for years with the figure for 2013 the lowest on record and half the number who were killed in 2000.
Looking specifically at child casualties, HSE and Department for Transport statistics suggest that this figure is falling too. The number of children seriously injured or killed on our roads in 2013 was 1,980 which still seems high, but is in fact a 9% decrease on the year before and now we’re just waiting to see how the figures have hopefully decreased again in 2014.
With some countries in Europe managing to work in effective road safety campaigns into their curriculum there is no reason the same can’t be done here and perhaps it will help our young people be more prepared and aware of the risks on the roads.