Petition calls for road safety education in National Curriculum Monday 15th February 2016
A petition has been launched calling on the Government to introduce road user education into the National Curriculum.
The petition has been created by David Barf (pictured), a roads policing inspector with North Yorkshire Police, who hopes to raise awareness of the issue so that it appears firmly on the Government radar.
Road Safety GB is supporting the petition and urging road safety practitioners to read and sign it as soon as possible.
The petition points to World Health Organisation figures which show that 1,700 people died on the UK roads in 2014, while in the same period 300 people drowned. It says: ‘We address water danger by teaching swimming in schools, yet there is nothing formalised in relation to road user education. Help us change this and save lives’.
Running for six months until 5 August 2016, the petition requires 10,000 signatures for a Government response. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
Inspector Barf, who works in the North Yorkshire Police Major Collision Investigation Unit, says he was prompted to start the petition by a desire to create a ‘groundswell of support’.
He said: “At present road safety education is left to individual local authorities, partnerships and charities who do their level best to get the message home.
“Sadly though, these stakeholders compete with others for school and college time and access to students often comes down to personalities and relationships, creating a post code lottery.
“It is fair to say that a vast majority of those passing through our education system will use the country’s roads. At present we put 16 and 17-year-olds onto the road with a basic level of knowledge.
“My petition is aimed at gaining Government recognition that saving lives on our roads should be given central support to get the time required in all schools by placing this important area of life skill into the National Curriculum.
“All of us who are involved in this area and deal with tragedy every day want to prevent needless loss of life. I am convinced that early intervention and education can do that. After all, we don’t send students to university without first sending them to school.”
Honor Byford, chair of Road Safety GB, said: “The sentiment in David's petition is fully supported by Road Safety GB.
“Road safety professionals constantly strive to provide road user education in their local schools and colleges and parents tell us this is what they want for their children. But this offer is frequently declined for any number of reasons including restricted curriculum time, competing offers and on occasion a lack of interest from teaching staff.
“Defined minimum outcomes - the things a child should know by the end of each key stage - in every child's education would ensure that all young people are taught what they need to know when they need to know it, so they can travel safely and develop their independence appropriate to their age and development. We would include Bikeability training within this curriculum.
“I would urge all practitioners to read and sign this petition as soon as they can, then please share it with your various partnerships, with parents and other organisations you are connected with for their support.”
- See more at: http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/4889.html#sthash.f3R8jjt2.PC73Dn9w.dpuf
Driving with your emotions
Whether you’re feeling sad, elated or just plain grumpy, your feelings could affect your capabilities behind the wheel, says road safety researcher Dr Samantha Jamson
I want you to imagine two scenarios. In the first, you’ve just received an exciting piece of news. Let’s pretend you’ve been awarded a longed for promotion at work and rush home in a state of excitement to tell your family and friends.
Now let’s suppose the news wasn’t so good. Your boss has accused you of not pulling your weight and said you’re in danger of being made redundant. You feel angry and sit behind the wheel of your car fuming with frustration.
If I were to ask which scenario is most likely to result in you crashing on your homeward journey, you would probably point to the latter. After all, we tend to think that angry drivers are bad drivers and that we would prefer to share the road with happy ones.
That is certainly the assumption made by the participants in a recent exclusive survey of attitudes towards driving. The polling of 1,094 UK drivers was conducted online by YouGov on behalf of Aviva in conjunction with the Telegraph. When asked about the interplay between emotions and driving, 80 per cent said that they thought a driver’s emotional state would have an impact on their performance behind the wheel.
As I would expect, two-thirds of these people pointed to anger as the emotion with the worst influence on driver safety. A further 19 per cent identified stress, and four per cent said nervousness or fear and apprehension would have a negative impact.
Strikingly, only a handful said that feeling happy would affect a person’s driving. So the widespread belief among UK motorists seems to be that negative emotions lead to poor driving, while positive ones have a benign influence.
However, this assumption might not be accurate. Recent research into human factors in road safety, in which I am involved through my role at the University of Leeds, suggests that positive emotional states could be just as detrimental to a driver’s performance as negative ones.
We can all play a part in making the roads saferIn fact, what matters from a road safety point of view is less the emotion itself than how we unconsciously respond to it. So the really important issue is the impact emotional states have on things such as our ability to perceive hazards or the frequency and direction of our eye movements.
To return to the scenarios I mapped at the beginning, the chances of your being distracted are similar in each case. Whether you’re steaming with rage at your unjust boss or floating on air at the thought of your imminent salary rise, there is a possibility that you won’t be paying the road as much attention as you ought.
But there’s more at stake even than this. Your emotional state may also prompt your body to allocate energy in certain ways, which could impair your performance as a driver.
As a general rule, our bodies like to exist in a state of equilibrium, neither too excited nor not excited enough. Our default mode is one of moderate stimulation – enough to be attentive to our surroundings but not so much that we can’t focus.
When we veer away from neutral, our bodies put energy into restoring balance. So as well as a state of high excitement making us more easily distracted, in these circumstances we will also unconsciously divert energy away from focusing on the road and towards getting back on an even keel.
We tend to think that angry drivers are bad drivers and that we would prefer to share the road with happy onesLikewise, if we are not excited enough, our bodies will put energy into geeing us up, which might reduce our ability to spot hazards or respond to danger. The drivers in this survey are partially right, therefore. Emotions are important in driver safety but they are not the be-all and end-all, and anger is by no means the only emotion to result in bad driving.
Whatever we’re feeling, the point that really matters is how our bodies respond, and that is not necessarily linked to the character of our emotions.
Whether you jump in the car feeling on top of the world or in the depths of despair, you may be just as likely to drive badly. This is a useful piece of self-knowledge, because it can help you to take stock as you turn the ignition key, and ensure that you stay as focused as possible before hitting the road.
Ultimately, that’s the value of surveys such as the one conducted by the Telegraph, Aviva and YouGov. They help uncover driver attitudes. Then they provide an opportunity to enhance awareness among motorists by exploring the interaction between what people think and how research suggests the world really is.
Armed with that understanding, we can all play a part in making the roads safer.
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