Statistically, this is an age group at a much higher risk of death and injury on the road than any other, and road crashes are the biggest killer of this age group. At this age, young people may be thinking about learning to drive, and older students may already be driving, so raising awareness about safe and sustainable road use for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists, and helping young people to consider their travel options, is essential. Your lessons should aim to not only promote safe choices, but help young people to realise their own and other people's responsibilities as adult road users, and empower them to feel able to challenge risky behaviour around them.
See our information on 'what to teach' for more advice before you get started and see our resources section for materials to help you. You can also make use of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's education site.
Use the resources in our young people and road safety section to help run interactive road safety workshops and campaigns.
Analyse different modes of transport
Analyse the benefits and disadvantages of different modes of travel, including walking, cycling, cars and public transport. Explore issues such as safety, pollution, congestion, noise, health, and the well-being of communities. What are the barriers that may prevent people from choosing safer and more sustainable modes of travel? What can be done to encourage more active and sustainable travel?
Study road casualty data
Explore in-depth a set of statistics relating to road casualties, over a period of years. Look for increases or decreases and explore the possible reasons for these. For example, look at the large number of deaths on roads of motorbikers, or the large number of young people involved in road crashes. You could use the government's annual road casualty statistics.
Explore risk by mode of transport
Using the above statistics, explore the risks of dying on roads using different modes of transport. For example, on average, everyone stands a one in 438 chance of dying on the road. Do people know the risks are this high? Would they take more care if they did? The risks of dying on a train or in an aeroplane are significantly lower. Discuss people's perceptions and fears of risk on different modes of transport. Discuss people's perceptions and fears of being killed in a road crash compared with being attacked or murdered. Far more people are killed on roads each year compared with people killed by murder and manslaughter.
Discuss improving road user behaviour
What can be done to improve behaviour of road users? Pick topics that will have direct relevance to young people. For example, what are the dangers of driving on drugs or alcohol, or speeding? Are there some issues that lots of people misunderstand, like the dangers of using a hands-free phone kit at the wheel, or driving after one or two drinks? Should there be more advertising campaigns? Or tougher laws and enforcement? What can be done to help people understand the risks and get into safer habits? See Brake's advice pages for more information on these, and other, road safety topics, and see our campaign pages for Brake's calls for behaviour and policy change. Use an initial discussion to spur a creative project or campaign by the students to try to persuade others to use roads more safely, or call for a road safety measure by the authorities (see below).
Explore casualty reduction
Explore reasons for reductions in casualties and whether these reductions may have been brought about by people behaving more safely, or road and vehicle technology, or improvements to the law and enforcement, such as crash protection features in vehicles, speed cameras, better awareness and enforcement of drink drive laws. Get the students to consider and write manifestos setting out what they think the government should do next, aiming ultimately to reduce road deaths and serious injuries to zero.
Explore sustainable and active travel
Hold a discussion about the benefits of walking and cycling for health, the environment and social interaction, alongside the barriers that sometimes prevent people from walking and cycling, and the reasons so many people own cars and drive even for short journeys. In what ways is our society car-dependent and what problems does this cause? Compare the costs of running a car over the course of a year to getting about by public transport, walking and cycling. If people can't get about by walking, cycling and public transport, does this create inequality in mobility, i.e. some people can afford to get around and others can't? Explore what authorities can do to make walking, cycling and public transport safer, more accessible and more appealing. Explore what changes are needed in your area. You could use this to lead onto a creative project or campaign (see below).
Survey local roads and suggest improvements
Carry out an in-depth survey of local roads and suggest road safety improvements (e.g. road markings, a speed camera, crossings, regular police patrols). Your council's safety engineer may be able to give you information about guidelines on implementing road improvements. As part of your survey, write and carry out a questionnaire for local people about their perceptions of local roads and if they think anything needs improving. Use our community campaign page for information on working with local officials to achieve road safety engineering measures.
Use road safety as the theme for a creative project, such as designing a website, producing a video, producing a play, or running a media campaign for local people. Run this project over a term and have quantifiable outcomes - e.g. hits on the website, or the amount of coverage obtained in local newspapers. Pick road safety topic that each group feels particularly strongly about and use the finished project to campaign and raise awareness around their chosen topic.
Look at the impact of road crashes
Explore the impact of road crashes on our health and emergency services. Explore the types of injuries and their treatment. Explore the enormous costs involved in treating and rehabilitating victims. Explore the costs involved when a 'bread winner' is killed. Who pays for food? Child care? The mortgage? Watch Brake's victims' videos and stories or study newspaper articles about road crashes and consider the possible consequences in those cases. Task the students with writing fictitious newspaper articles on different types of crashes.
Develop policies to reduce at-work vehicle crashes
Some crashes involve a vehicle being driven for work. Students could pretend they are a health and safety officer for a company with a fleet of trucks, vans and company cars. What policies could they implement to reduce the chances of crashes involving their vehicles? For example, banning the use of all types of mobile phone while driving, setting reasonable schedules so drivers don't speed between appointments or drive when they are tired, ensuring all vehicles are well maintained.