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									                          IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005

                           EVALUATION OF THE RYDA

                         Jane Elkington,

                      Director, Jane Elkington & Associates, NSW, Australia

Paper Summary

Seventeen schools participated in an evaluation of the one day Rotary Youth Driver Awareness
(RYDA) road safety education program. Pre, post and three month follow-up surveys of over
1,200 Year 11 students generally indicated a significant immediate impact on knowledge and
attitudes, although like many singular road safety education programs most gains were lost after
three months. Surveys of 32 teachers revealed strong support for the program, with 94%
reporting that the program met the needs of the students. Telephone interviews with 8 key
informants, also showed strong support for the program, often with the recommendation for minor
adjustments within the program and additional ways to extend its potential impact. Overall, results
suggest that the program is an appropriate educational tool if the messages are repeated at
regular intervals with the help of greater school and parent involvement. The evaluation was
funded by the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW.

Introduction                                             program is presented on an ongoing annual
                                                         basis to students in Rotary District 9680
In NSW from 2000-2002, young people                      which encompasses northern districts off
(aged 17-25 years) represented 12.4% of the              Sydney from Manly to Parramatta through to
NSW population and yet represented 25.2%                 Windsor and Wyong. With over 20,000 year
of the road fatalities (or around 135 deaths             11 students within this area, it includes
each year), 26.3% of the injuries due to road            almost one-third of the year 11 students in
crashes, and 22.7% of all hospital bed days              the state. Similar road safety programs are
due to road trauma (RTA data, 2004).                     occurring in other areas of the state.

During this time 17.47 young people/100,000              This program aims to deliver practical road
young people were killed each year as a                  safety and other information relevant to an
result of road trauma compared to 8.60                   overall responsible approach to the driving
people/100,000 across the entire population,             experience. The Year 11 program assembles
thus they are at twice the risk of dying in a            community expert Road Safety resources to
car crash than is the population as a whole              deliver integrated Road Safety Education to
(RTA data, 2004).                                        young adults at the beginning of their driving
Despite considerable investment on road
safety education, few comprehensive studies              The purpose of the current evaluation was to:
have been developed that clearly draw
together the evaluation of program impact on             A) Assess the program in terms of its
students‟ knowledge, attitudes and skills as                perception by teachers and road safety
well as reach and acceptability of the                      education specialists, and
program to teachers, parents and the wider
community.                                               B) Identify the impact of the program on
                                                            students‟ immediate and longer-term
RYDA presents a community road safety                       changes in road safety knowledge,
education program focussing on attitude and                 attitudes and behaviour.
behaviour training for year 11 Students. The

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                            IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005


There were three aspects of the evaluation:                 Major program strengths were identified as:
                                                            the importance of the topic, the fact that it is
  1) A pre/post and three month follow-up                   an excursion - thus concentrating attention
     written survey of students attending the               on the topic, that students get to meet
     program                                                representatives of significant community
  2) A written survey of teachers who                       agencies, and that there are some interactive
     attended the program                                   sessions which aid learning.
  3) Telephone interviews with key
     informants in Road Safety Education.
                                                            Noted program limitations were that there
Schools: 17 the 20 invited schools                          were no follow-up sessions after the day-
participating in the RYDA program from                      long program, and several sessions were
February - May 2004 took part in the                        reported to be too much like classroom
evaluation. The sampling process ensured                    lessons – when there should be greater
that there was a mix of Government, Catholic                opportunities for student interaction, and
and Independent schools – as well as a mix of               there was some variable quality in the
co-educational, all-male and all-female                     presentations.
Students: Study subjects were year
11students at the participating schools who                 The teachers‟ feedback
attended the RYDA program. In all, over
1,200 students returned valid surveys on each               Teachers were strongly supportive of the
of the three survey occasions.                              program – with 91% believing it captured the
Teachers: 32 teachers from 11 of the                        interest of the students and 94% believing it
participating    schools   returned    written              met the needs of the students.
evaluation/feedback forms.
Key informants: Eight key informants
participated in the 30 minute telephone                     The strongest sessions were noted to be the
interviews. These were five specialists in                  personal stories by those affected by serious
road safety education as well as school                     injury, the stopping distances session (where
principles and PDHPE teachers.                              students got in a car and experienced
                                                            braking suddenly at different speeds) and the
                                                            session conducted by police.

Summary of Key Findings                                     While 35% of respondents did not report any
                                                            weakness of the program, those that did
The response to the program by key                          tended to report that the groups were too
stakeholders                                                large for some sessions, and some sessions
                                                            were too classroom-like.
Key informants showed considerable support
for the program indicating that they felt it
employed appropriate teaching approaches                    In all, 90% of teachers thought the day long
for the year 11 students, that it was pitched               format was suitable, and 84% said they
at the right level and is delivered at a very               would recommend the program to other
appropriate time with respect to their focus                teachers (without change) and a further 14%
on issues to do with driving.                               said they would recommend it if there were
                                                            some modifications made.
The program was generally believed to fit                   On the whole, very few schools (around 15%)
well with existing curricula – with the                     appear to have adopted road safety beyond
limitation that only a minority of students take            PDHPE/pastoral care opportunities such as
elective PDHPE where road safety is part of                 into other subject areas, as part of school
the syllabus.                                               policies, assemblies, staff development days,
                                                            P&C meetings.

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                          IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005

Impact on student knowledge, attitudes                      Areas where the pattern of responses
and behaviour                                               was one of immediate gains and then
                                                            some loss of these gains were:
The findings, based on over 1,200 responses                  Understanding that driving is a
for each of three survey occasions showed a                    complex task
very consistent pattern regarding the                        Knowing that neither loud music nor
program‟s impact. It was clear in almost all                   winding the window down can help
areas the program achieved a positive                          fight fatigue when driving.
change in knowledge and attitudes
immediately after the program‟s conclusion.
Thus, the key messages were attended to                     Areas where gains were maintained
and they had a positive impact. However –                   over three months were few across both
there was also a pattern of reversion to pre-               genders. Knowledge was retained about
program levels by the time students were                    the number of alcoholic drinks an L or P
surveyed three months after they attended                   plate driver can have to stay under the
the program.                                                legal limit – the correct response being
                                                            “zero”. It is noteworthy that this was a
                                                            focus of RTA campaign at the time and
Below is a typical result showing the change                following the RYDA program – signifying
in knowledge score over the three testing                   the importance of repeating messages
occasions.    On this item, students were                   over time.
asked to nominate as many different
consequences of risk taking on the road as
they could think of. A score of 1 was                                       Pre-     Post- Follow-
assigned for each separate and correct                                      test      test       up
answer provided.                                                TOTAL       74%       92%       93%
                                                                 Girls      77%       94%       96%
            Pre-     Post-   Follow-up
                                                                 Boys       70%       91%       90%
            test      test
                                                         Proportion that know that the maximum
 TOTAL      2.59     2.99       2.59
                                                         no. of drinks an „L‟ or „P‟ plate driver can
  Girls     2.81     3.23       2.76
                                                         have to stay within the legal limit is zero
  Boys      2.32     2.63       2.39                                                         Significant
Knowledge of consequences of risky                       knowledge gains in this area were made
behaviour - Average scores by gender and                 immediately after the program (with close to
total                                                    a 20% increase in the proportion responding
                                                         correctly) and maintained at the three month
   Areas where the pattern of responses                  follow-up.
   was one of immediate gains and then all
   gains were lost at the three month
   follow-up were:                                       There were several areas, where the impact
    Being        able    to  identify   the             of the program was retained over time
        consequences of taking risks on the              significantly better by girls than by boys –
        road                                             even though girls scored consistently better
    Knowledge of how long alcohol                       than boys on almost all areas and on all
        remains in the body                              testing occasions. This “better retention”
    Over-confidence in their driving ability            pattern by girls than boys was observed in
    Understanding that fatigue can occur                the following areas:
        on short trips                                     Being uncomfortable as a passenger
    Discomfort with being a passenger                        with a friend who was driving while using
        where the driver is speeding, doing                   a handheld mobile phone (This is also
        burn-outs/doughnuts, having more                      one of very few areas where girls did not
        passengers than seatbelts.                            score better than boys at the pre-test)

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                              IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005

     Being uncomfortable when the music                     influence of alcohol in the past eight weeks.
      was loud enough in the car to drown out
      conversation                                           On both the pre-test and follow-up surveys,
     Being likely to speak out to get the driver            significantly fewer girls than boys had driven
      to be safer if: i) the driver was using a              or had been driven by a driver suspected of
      handheld mobile phone, ii) if the driver               being under the influence of illicit drugs in the
      was following too close behind another                 previous 8 weeks. Three months after the
      car, and ii) if the music was too loud.                program both genders were marginally worse
                                                             – with around 2% more reporting the
                                                             undesirable behaviour. This may be linked
 Long-term behaviour change was not                          with a „maturation effect‟ with the students
 observed in the major areas of focus of the                 being more exposed to such opportunities
 program as measured by self-reported                        with time.
 behaviour within the previous 8 week period
 (covering the pre and post program periods).                It is concerning that:
 It is noteworthy that there are several
 concerning statistics on the behaviour of                         Around 20% of students reported
 young people for all measurement occasions:                        being in a car with a driver suspected
                                                                    of being under the influence of alcohol
                                                                   Around 12% of students reported
                                   Pre-   Follow                    being in a car with a driver suspected
                                   test    -up                      of being under the influence of illegal
Reported driving or        Girls   20%     18%                      drugs
being a passenger with                                             Around 22% reported not wearing a
a driver suspected to be                                            seatbelt on one or more occasion
under the influence of     Boys    22%     24%                     Around 58% waited to get to a party
                                                                    (at least once) before planning how to
Reported driving or        Girls   8%       9%                      get home
being a passenger with                                             Around 45% did not tell a parent (at
a driver suspected to be   Boys    12%     14%
under the influence of
                                                                    least once) where they were going
illegal drugs                                                      Around 38% (at least once) got so
Reported having            Girls   20%     22%                      drunk they felt ill.
travelled without
wearing a seatbelt on      Boys    23%     22%
one or more occasion                                         The RYDA program was very well received
 Percentage of girls and boys who                            and supported as a road safety education
 reported at least once in the last 8 weeks                  program. It is considered to target young
 having taken a significant risk as a                        people at the right time and deliver
 passenger                                                   appropriate road safety messages that are
                                                             clearly attended to. Like all road safety
                                                             education       programs,      however,      its
 Regarding driving or being driven by                        effectiveness is short-lived unless its key
 someone under the influence of alcohol, girls               messages are reinforced over time. While it
 (20%) were not significantly different from                 follows best-practice in the principles of
 boys (22%) on the pre-test but they were                    learning    for    this   age      group    and
 significantly lower (18%) than boys on the                  complementing the relevant syllabus, it falls
 three month follow-up (24%) (Fishers‟ exact                 short of best practice in road safety
 test, p=0.01 2 two-tailed).                                 education by being by-and-large a one-off
                                                             learning experience. The challenge for this
 There is clearly room for behaviour change in               program, and others like it, is to find a way to
 this area, with around one in five girls and                be more fully integrated with the school and
 close to one in four boys reporting that they               home environment of the young people it
 had been a passenger in a vehicle where the                 targets.
 driver was suspected to be under the

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                          IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005

Conclusions                                                      Speeding, diving under the influence
                                                                  of alcohol and illegal drugs, and non-
The following conclusions have been                               use of seatbelts - particularly with
developed in light of the mix of findings from                    boys
the three aspects of the evaluation: advice                   The complexity of the task of driving
from 8 key informants familiar with the                           and recognising that novice drivers
program and the principles of road safety                         need to expect driving skills to take a
education, feedback from 32 teachers who                          long while to develop fully
attended the program, and the measured                        Non-behavioural risk factors for road
impact of the program on over 1,200                               trauma including the condition of the
students by way of a pre-test, immediate and                      car, road and weather.
three month follow-up surveys.                            6. Recommendations by teachers and key
                                                              informants for effective learning
1. As a road safety education program, the                    approaches included:
    RYDA program, received strong support                     Smaller groups where possible
    from teachers and key road safety                         Interactive learning where possible –
    education in that it is delivered to                          such as discussion/role playing
    complement relevant curriculum, it is                     Standardisation of content by way of
    age-appropriate, and it employs effective                     a presenters‟ manual
    learning strategies.                                      Take-home materials to prolong the
2. Particularly well received were the                            impact of the key messages and to
    hands-on/interactive sessions, the fact                       encourage students raise the topic
    that it is an excursion focused on the one                    with their families
    topic, and it is presented in a
                                                              Defining clearly the role of the
    professional manner by representatives
                                                                  teachers – both in terms of discipline
    from community agencies.
                                                                  on the day and preparatory and
3. There are indications that the program
                                                                  follow-up sessions.
    would be enhanced by follow-up or
                                                          7. The RYDA program has brought
    “booster” sessions throughout the year to
                                                              substantial additional resources to road
    maintain the gains that the program
                                                              safety education for students. To
    achieves in the short-term.
                                                              optimise the value of the Program it is
4. Strategies should be developed to assist
                                                              recommended that an intersectoral
    schools to better integrate road safety
                                                              approach to planning be undertaken by
    into the school culture including:
                                                              RYDA, other community road safety
    newsletter items to parents, use of road
                                                              program planners and government
    safety in other curriculum areas,
                                                              agencies responsible for education and
    coverage of relevant issues in school
                                                              for road safety. These agencies should
    assemblies, student handbook, staff
                                                              jointly    address      the   needs     and
    development and P& C meetings.
                                                              opportunities for this „at risk‟ group of
5. Findings from the student surveys
                                                              road users so that their combined time,
    indicate that content areas to be
                                                              skills and resources can be more
    emphasised in order to address
                                                              effectively be working together. Only
    concerning levels of risk behaviour or
                                                              through collaborative planning can these
    attitudes are:
                                                              agencies identify strategies to overcome
    Safer celebrating – planning how to                      current obstacles to achieving long-term
        get home safely, looking after mates                  impact of road safety messages. These
        and not taking unnecessary risks                      obstacles        include       contradictory
    Driver distraction – such as loud                        messages in the media, peer pressure,
        music, mobile phones, the roles and                   the absence of widespread strategies
        responsibilities of passengers                        involving parents to ensure messages
    Passenger safety – including role                        are reinforced at home, and the absence
        playing of assertive behaviour to                     of compulsory curriculum for this age
        achieve      greater    safety   as  a                group. In short there is a need for
        passenger                                             better integration of road safety

                                                 Page 5
                          IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005

    within the school, parent and local                  Haworth, N., Kowaldo, N. & Tingvall,
    communities with regard to novice                    C. (2000) Evaluation of pre-driver
    drivers and their passengers.                        education      program.     Monash
                                                         University Accident Research Centre
                                                         – Report # 167.
                                                         Irwin, C.E. & Millstein, S.G. (1986)
The evaluation was funded by the Motor                   Biopsychosocial correlates of risk-
Accidents Authority. The contribution of the             taking       behaviours       during
17 participating schools, their principals,              adolescence, Journal of Adolescent
teachers   and     students  is    gratefully            Health Care, 7, pp. 82S-96S.
acknowledged. The RYDA program is made
possible by the significant contribution of              NSW Health: The Health of the
Rotary.                                                  people of New South Wales - Report
                                                         of the Chief Health Officer Sydney:
                                                         Available                          at:
       Christie, R. (2001) The effectiveness             Accessed March 25, 2003).
       of driver training as a road safety
       measure: a review of the literature.              Redeker, N.S., Smeltzer, S.C.,
       November. Report No. 01/03 RACV.                  Kirkpatrick, J. & Parchment, S. (1995)
       Di Pietro What should be driving                  Risk factors of adolescent and young
       contemporary TSE. TSE Conference                  adult trauma victims, American
       2002.                                             Journal of Critical Care, 4(5), pp. 370-              378.
                                                         Roberts, I. and Kwan, I. (2001)
       Elliott B (November 2000): Review of              School based driver education for the
       Good Practice: Children and Road                  prevention    of   traffic  crashes.
       Safety Education.      Prepared for               Cochrane Database of Systematic
       Western Australian Department of                  Reviews (3): CD003201
       Transport Office of Road Safety
                                                         RTA road trauma data (2004) from
       Gregerson (1996): cited in Haworth,     
       N, Kowaldo, N. & Tingvall, C. (2000)
       Evaluation of pre-driver education
       program. Monash University Accident               RTA: Youth Road Safety in NSW – A
       Research Centre – Report # 167                    discussion paper. Research Report RR
                                                         2/00, Roads & Traffic Authority, May
       Harris, A. and Hulme, A. (2002) The               2000.
       potential      for     collaborative,
       preventative approaches to reduce                 Stewart,    D.    (1994)   Operation
       road trauma among youth. RACV &                   Drinksafe Evaluation Report: A
       VicHealth.                                        Literature Review (Brisbane, School
                                                         of Public Health - Queensland
                                                         University of Technology).

                                                Page 6
                   IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005

Author Biography

                    For the past eight years Dr Jane Elkington has worked as a
                    consultant in injury prevention – particularly in the areas of road
                    safety and occupational health and safety. She has been a
                    member of the ministerial NSW Road Safety Taskforce since
                    2001, and an executive board member of YouthSafe since 1999.
                    A large component of her work concerns strategic planning and
                    evaluation in road safety at the local and statewide levels.

                    Postal Address:

                    Jane Elkington, Jane Ellkington & Associates, 26 Highlands Ave.,
                    Gordon, NSW 2072

                    Tel: (02) 9440 7587
                    Fax: (02) 9440 7589
                    Mobile: 0425 200 194

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