Essays academic service


The advocacy of responsible driving through education to reduce car fatalities

Messenger Too often in Australia we hear tragic stories of another young life cut short in a car accident and yet any attempts to dramatically reduce the death toll are not working.

Young male drivers are our hardest hit, with male drivers aged 17 to 24 making up just There has been some reduction in the the number of fatal accidents involving young people over the years, but the focus is mostly placed on young drivers with calls for more driver training and education.

Safety on the Road

Clearly this is not enough. We need to do something else to reduce the death — and injury — toll.

  • Sensation seeking and impulsivity are normal parts of figuring out who we are;
  • Taking into account such factors, coupled with youthful exuberance and a complex web of physical, psychological and social development, perhaps we should be asking why young drivers do not crash more often?
  • We often forget that young drivers are also mostly teenagers, and that being a teen can be tricky;
  • Learn why distracted driving, regardless if it's hands-free or handheld, is a dangerous threat to roadway safety;
  • This global reality has prompted me to look at young driver road safety in a different way.

The Australian experience is not unique. This global reality has prompted me to look at young driver road safety in a different way. Rather than attempting to fix only the drivers, we need to know more about their behaviours and their environment before we can intervene effectively.

What are the risks? Recent research shows young drivers are placing themselves at greater risk of harm by: We often forget that young drivers are also mostly teenagers, and that being a teen can be tricky. Sensation seeking and impulsivity are normal parts of figuring out who we are. We know teens are likely to struggle with depression and anxiety so it makes sense these emotions will influence how they drive. A roadside tribute to a year-old school student killed when his station wagon crashed in Adelaide.

What may not be well known is that these important groups start to influence young driver behaviour long before the teen gets behind the wheel of a car, and their influence lasts long through independent driving. So we have this essential foreground information - what we can easily see - about behaviour, environment and the young driver. But what about the background information, what we may not even suspect is there? It is not simply a product of the driver and their immediate environment.

First we need to know a little about this system. Who is in it, what role do they play?

A different approach to safety

When we know this, we can figure out where and how the system itself is not working, with young drivers and their family, their friends, and the wider community paying the price for system failures. We can understand the system across six levels of influence, from 1 at the top down to 6: As we can see from the examples at each level there are actors — who can be individuals, groups, departments or other stakeholders — who are important in young driver road safety.

They fit somewhere within the system according to the role they play in this larger system.

  1. So who is responsible for road safety?
  2. This is good news, signalling a new age in which we can radically improve young driver road safety. They fit somewhere within the system according to the role they play in this larger system.
  3. As we can see from the examples at each level there are actors — who can be individuals, groups, departments or other stakeholders — who are important in young driver road safety.
  4. The Australian experience is not unique.

For the system to protect young drivers, and everyone with whom they share their car and the road, we need actions and decisions to flow from the top levels down through to the lower levels. This process is called vertical integration. There is also horizontal integration, that is actions and decisions among the various actors at each level is essential.

  • What are the risks?
  • We know teens are likely to struggle with depression and anxiety so it makes sense these emotions will influence how they drive;
  • So who is responsible for road safety?
  • We can understand the system across six levels of influence, from 1 at the top down to 6;
  • Mapping the system shows how responsibility for young driver road safety is actually shared among many different actors, that it is not the sole responsibility of the young driver.

So who is responsible for road safety? Systems thinking is a radical approach in young driver road safety. Rather than laying the blame for most crashes on the young driver, crashes can be understood as a failure in the system which should actually protect young drivers. Taking into account such factors, coupled with youthful exuberance and a complex web of physical, psychological and social development, perhaps we should be asking why young drivers do not crash more often?

Mapping the system shows how responsibility for young driver road safety is actually shared among many different actors, that it is not the sole responsibility of the young driver. A systems analysis of young driver road safety in Queensland has already found that there is limited vertical, and some horizontal, integration.

There is a general need for more information about who is out there, what they do, and how actors can work together — a research project currently underway here in Queensland.

This is good news, signalling a new age in which we can radically improve young driver road safety.