Involving parents

Involving parents in road safety education

Parents are often implicitly involved in their children’s driving by providing access to a car, or by financing lessons or car insurance.

This means they can have direct influence in ensuring their child becomes a safe and responsible road user.

The importance of parents

Keating (2008) stated that next to graduated licensing, parents were a ‘critical factor’ in reducing unsafe driving by teenagers:
“Parental monitoring, involvement and expectations remain key to reducing teen risky behaviour, including driving” (Keeting, 2008).

Goodwin et al (2006) summarised the importance of the parental influence:
“Young-driver experts are in substantial agreement that more effective parental involvement in supervising and managing teenage drivers is one of the most promising avenues for further lowering young-driver crashes, injuries and fatalities.”

Beck et al (2002) describes parents as “…the principal gatekeepers for driving privileges.” This central role in their children’s early driving years affords parents a critical opportunity to influence safety positive behaviours.

Ways parents can influence safe driving

Key messages to communciate to parents on how they can help their children to be safer drivers are:

  • Setting boundaries at the start of the learning to drive process. Parents are very often in a position of power given the fact that learning to drive, comes at a price.
  • Drawing up a contract , signed by both parties, setting out agreed parameters for the first six months e.g. no friends as passengers.
  • Ensuring that the young person is the driver when journeying with family.

Maintaining this model is important after the test is passed. A young driver with young passengers may adopt riskier behaviours, particularly at night.

Safe Road User Awards from SQA
Driving Standards Agency – Safe driving for Life
Think! Education