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A trans-disciplinary community-based approach to education for positive behavioural change in young drivers as high risk road users.

Nalder, G, Menzies, V, Kendall, E (Peer reviewed)

Community

ACRS conference 2008

To achieve the goal of road-safe behaviour among youth, new educational approaches are required. Road safety research has identified that awareness-raising media campaigns and driver training programs have no, or even negative, impact on risk taking behaviour or the involvement of 16-25 year olds in car crashes. For this age group, external environmental factors identified by social scientists such as peer pressure, and youth culture where status is associated with excessive or extreme risk-taking, are compounded by biological factors. Neuro-scientific research indicates that brain immaturity in under 25-year-olds limits their capacity to control impulsive behaviour, and impedes the simultaneous coordination of thought and action required for the effective perception and safe negotiation of driving hazards. Designers of road safety education programs must also contend with adolescent disengagement in learning that is passive and/or has little relevance to their life-worlds. Based on the results of a recent pilot trial of a school and community-based young learner driver education program in South East Queensland that aimed to address these problems, an innovative inquiry-based trans-disciplinary approach to young learner driver education is proposed that engages learners as participants in curriculum design, implementation and evaluation.