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Survey Data Shows Young Passengers React Positively To Safe Road Behaviour

In a landmark study of over 860 students participating in Australia and New Zealand’s largest road safety education program, RYDA, students have clearly shown the driver behaviours that make them feel safe, and those they rate negatively.

The RYDA program helps turn our next generation of drivers and their passengers into road safety heroes. To mark National Road Safety week, we asked our students to tell us what a road safety hero looks like to them. Tying into the theme of “What’s your Hero move?” we asked students what hero moves they like to see others doing and also what behaviours they don’t like.

The most highly rated road use behaviour from students was pulling over and resting when tired, closely followed by doing simple safety checks such as checking tyre pressure and tread. Other highly rated behaviours include turning the phone off, leaving a sufficient gap behind the car in front, planning ahead to reduce the temptation for speeding, and slowing down in the rain.

On the flip side, the most poorly rated behaviours include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a phone while driving, not wearing seatbelts, and speeding at all levels.

The survey, conducted towards the end of RYDA workshops, reflects some of the many road safety strategies and messages students learn throughout the program. With over 60% of respondents already on their Learner licence, and the rest approaching that stage, the attitudes demonstrated are at a time when passengers are focusing more than ever before on driver behaviour. It builds on research conducted last year with RYDA students on experiences on the road highlighting the need for reducing the level of aggression shown towards our learner and novice drivers.

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Maria Lovelock, General Manager New Zealand and Group Engagement, states that “What this shows is that passengers want their drivers to put safety above all else. Road safety ‘hero’ moves included simple measures such as removing the temptation to use phones while driving, leaving enough space between cars, making sure the driver is in the right frame of mind to be behind the wheel, and listening to concerns raised by passengers.”

“During National Road Safety Week, Tuesday is the day we focus on youth road safety, so it is a timely reminder for all drivers on their responsibility to model positive road safety behaviour, especially towards the next generation of drivers.”

This research indicates that young people know what they want to see on the road, and what makes them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. It also shows how important listening to the concerns of passengers’ concerns is to creating a positive environment on the road.

“We are especially pleased to see that the behaviour young road users look for in their peers is so heavily skewed towards safety. The negative view that youths have towards speeding, phone use and driving under the influence is a strong sign that the culture is turning towards seeing road use as a social responsibility.”

Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) is the provider of RYDA, a road safety program comprising workshops and classroom lessons using a whole of school approach targeting senior high school students. RYDA includes a full-day workshop, delivered to approximately 60,000 year 11 and 12 students within their year groups throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as a range of pre and post workshop individual and class activities. Parents can also participate in Drive Coach, a free information session helping them support teen drivers that is being launched in Tasmania this week as part of National Road Safety Week. RYDA is delivered with support from RSE’s corporate sponsors including BOC, New Zealand Steel, Bridgestone, vtnz and Toyota, as well as support from our community partner, Rotary through their clubs throughout New Zealand.

Summary of responses from students

If you were a passenger and the driver was doing any of the following, rate how you’d feel about their actions?(Please tick the box between 1 and 7 where 1 is very negatively and 7 is very positively)
  1234567 
 All NegativeVery NegativelyNegativelySlightly NegativelyNeither Positively nor NegativelySlightly PositivelyPositivelyVery PositivelyAll Positive
Reading a message on a smart phone while driving93.99%53.13%29.63%11.23%4.28%0.81%0.23%0.69%1.73%
Departing late, but making up for lost time by driving just a little bit over the speed limit79.16%22.58%32.83%23.75%13.85%3.61%2.33%1.05%6.99%
Driving over the speed limit, but knowing where all the speed cameras are to avoid getting caught26.59%3.48%7.78%15.33%22.07%17.07%18.93%15.33%51.33%
They don’t wear, or make you wear, a seatbelt if it is just a short trip59.60%13.11%22.13%24.36%21.08%10.66%5.27%3.40%19.33%
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol79.11%35.38%25.17%18.56%11.72%5.80%1.39%1.97%9.16%
Before departing, calling ahead to let the people at the destination know you are running late87.23%53.36%24.13%9.74%8.24%2.32%1.16%1.04%4.52%
When they are angry or stressed, holding off driving until they have calmed down95.25%87.14%5.79%2.32%2.20%0.70%0.58%1.27%2.55%
Pulling over somewhere safe to rest for 15-20 minutes because they were tired9.35%2.92%2.69%3.74%7.25%8.89%20.23%54.27%83.39%
Doing a quick check of tyre pressure and tread when you’re at the petrol station12.82%3.73%3.26%5.83%7.46%9.91%19.46%50.35%79.72%
Leaving a big gap between your car and the car in front, even if some cars pull into that space6.87%1.98%1.75%3.14%6.75%7.68%21.89%56.81%86.38%
Pulling over when it is raining so heavily that you can’t see more than 50 metres in front7.68%1.28%2.56%3.84%8.27%10.13%21.30%52.62%84.05%
Leaving 1.5 metres between the car and a person on a bicycle when overtaking them9.82%2.57%2.22%5.03%11.58%12.51%25.26%40.82%78.59%
Turning their phone off or onto ‘do not disturb’ mode when they are driving9.69%1.75%3.27%4.67%9.33%10.85%19.95%50.18%80.98%

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