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IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005 EVALUATION OF THE RYDA ROAD SAFETY EDUCATION PROGRAM Jane Elkington, firstname.lastname@example.org 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 lives. 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 Page 1 IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2005 Methodology 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. schools. 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. Page 2 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) Page 3 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 alcohol (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 Page 4 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. Acknowledgments 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: Bibliography http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/public- health/chorep/toc/choindex.htm. 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- http://www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/physed/ 378. traffic/tseconf/messages/pietro.htm 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, www.rta.nsw.gov.au 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 E-mail: email@example.com Page 7
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