The role of education in improving road safety

1st Nov 2023

A CIHT webinar later this month will consider the different forms road safety education can take, from school-based programs to public awareness campaign and drivers’ education. CIHT Technical Champion Syed Yaseen Afshad, one of the speakers at the webinar, highlights some of the topics under discussion.

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Words by Syed Yaseen Afshad

In the Road Safety Masterclass I’ll be speaking at later this month, I’ll be talking about how education is an important factor in creating safer roads for everyone.

Road safety education can take a number of different forms, including school-based education (emphasising the importance of road safety from a young age), public awareness campaigns and driver education. 

The driving public has the major role in achieving safer roads, by adopting safe driving behaviours, advocating for road safety measures and being aware of the consequences of crashes – to them as drivers, to society and to everyone.

Graduated licencing

One of the initiatives we see in the Middle East is a form of graduated licencing for every qualified driver. Learners enrol at a driving school programme and are taught about the safety standards that they have to comply with, how should they respond in an unforeseen driving circumstance. 

There are different levels in the programme. In the first level, new drivers learn about the basic signs on the highway that you must be aware of. Then they learn about the post-crash response and how they should react to an accident or a crash on the road? How would they deal with that situation? There are several other levels and modules that any driver has to undertake that and sit an exam in. Learners either pass or fail the computer-based exam: if they fail, they have to take the course again. The entire programme lasts four to six months.

Once a driver has their graduated licence, they have to renew it every five years or 10 years (depending on whether the driver is a citizen or resident). The driver undertakes a refresher course that considers what they have and haven’t been doing on the road that is unsafe, or any bad habits they’ve picked up. I believe that this is a really good programme, keeping drivers and road users aware of all the risks associated when they're on the roads.

The refresher course is a must. If drivers want to renew their licence, the refresher course is available for minimal cost. We also find that there is no resistance to this among drivers. I think people actually enjoy doing it, because they’re given updated information about what's happening on the roads, which they welcome. 

Public information campaigns

Apart from graduated licencing, We also see public awareness programmes through mass media. Radio, television, poster campaigns regularly educate road users about their duties and responsibilities: if you’re a motorcyclist, a cyclist or a driver of a car or heavy vehicle, you’re informed about how you have to be safe on road to make it safer for yourself and for others. 

There are many means of can interact with the community about road safety, including mass-media or social media channels. We believe that these various methods of road safety education are improving standards right across the region and I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences with you in the webinar later this month.

Syed Yaseen Afshad was in conversation with Craig Thomas

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