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The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.

Education and training

Education and training

Education goes together with a comprehensive approach to road safety and mobility. Crucial factors for safe behaviour are [60]:

  • Control of the vehicle by handling skills and defensive behaviour,
  • Control of situations by understanding of road conditions
  • Understanding and communication among road users, and
  • Behavioural patterns.

Some examples are described concerning road safety education for children. Education should, however, also be directed at other types of road users, such as motorists.

Road safety education for children

Young child pedestrians learn best at the roadside or a close approximation. From there, with experience, they develop conceptual understanding. This supports the promotion of practical skills training for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers in connection with reflections on emerging ideas and understanding. In addition to skills acquisition, improvement of knowledge and attitudes is implicit in most of the recently developed behavioural programmes [35].

There is general consensus in the research and among practitioners that ad hoc activities, such as visits from experts and road safety enthusiasts, may have mass appeal but are relatively unsuccessful because road safety education should be planned and progressive. Such activities should be used as additions to the road safety programme. Bailey (1995) promotes integrated road safety education that spans several curriculum areas and this approach is also supported by the Good Practice Guidelines for Road Safety Education in Schools (www.dft.gov.uk) which identify and provide examples of road safety education across the curriculum and recommend that road safety professionals support teachers in delivering a progressive programme of road safety education rather than occasional talks on road safety [35].

Duperrrex, Bunn and Roberts [13] reviewed the literature on the education of pedestrians for injury prevention. They identified 15 studies of sufficient quality (i.e. random assignment to the treatment group, and the use of a control group). Of these studies, 14 were aimed at children. None of the studies looked at the effect of safety education on the occurrence of pedestrian injury, but six assessed its effect on behaviour. The effects varied considerably across studies and outcomes, indicating that the impact of programmes differ. So, evaluation studies may encourage programme developers to enhance the effectiveness of programmes.

Education for other road users

The potential contribution of education to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists depends on more than just the education of themselves. Education has an important role to play in creating cooperation between road users and enabling them to adapt to each other. For this reason, car driver instruction should cover characteristics of pedestrians' and cyclists' behaviour and the necessary anticipation required by drivers to avoid conflicts with them. Two central themes for an instruction programme are recommended in this respect: adaptation of speed, and learning to understand other road users and to 'communicate' with them [60].