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Why study student driver education?

Section overview

An image of a teacher teaching student driver education.It is important that young people have an understanding of the importance of studying student driver education within a broader 'health and life skills' focus. This section offers the opportunity to explore students' interests and motivation levels as they relate to student driver education.

This section also explores the concept that driving is a privilege that carries with it particular responsibilities, including obeying the road rules and protecting passengers, property and other road users. It also looks at why young people are at the greatest level of risk on our roads.

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Teacher information 

In recent years road safety education for young adolescents has focused on risk-taking behaviour, primarily in the context of behaviour on and around the roads. The emphasis has been on increasing young people's level of skill as it relates to decision making and problem solving in risk-taking situations.

Driving is an incredibly complex task; however, it is often dismissed as being easy. There are a range of social skills (communication with other drivers, courteous road-safe behaviour), emotional skills (confidence with driving ability, managing stress), physical skills (steering, braking, scanning, indicating) and decision-making skills (when to brake, when to indicate, how close to follow, how to manage driving hazards) that are used when driving.

Students may need to develop their understanding of the differences between rights (something to which you have a just claim), privileges (something granted to a particular person or group) and responsibilities (something for which you have a legal or moral obligation). Students could be asked to provide examples of each in the context of driving. Students should be reminded that all drivers are expected to drive safely and responsibly, that age and inexperience are not an excuse, and that all road users have a right to be safe.

There are many different types of vehicles on the road and they all need to be considered in different ways. For example, students should realise that drivers of heavy vehicles have different needs from cyclists. Likewise, motorbike riders will have different needs from those of bus drivers. Drivers of heavy vehicles require more space and distance to manoeuvre while cyclists are particularly concerned with parked vehicles (doors opening as they cycle past) and other road users sharing the road. Motorbike riders are not always easy to see and buses may often stop on the side of the road. Pedestrians are also road users and are particularly vulnerable to all traffic. As drivers, students will need to constantly consider the needs of all other people on the road.

Activity 1

Students discuss the reasons as to why they want to get their learner licence. They also discuss reasons why they might not want to get their licence. The responses are collated for future reference.

Activity 2

Students identify the range of tasks a driver may be required to undertake in the process of driving. They discuss the range of decisions drivers are faced with during the driving task.

Activity 3 

Students develop a list of all the reasons why young people may or may not want to get their learner licence. They also debate the issue of whether driving is a right or a privilege.

Activity 4 

Students examine the statistics and identify which age group is at a greater risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. They discuss why this might be so. They then discuss the question 'what makes a good driver?'.

Activity 5 

Students identify the various needs of the drivers/riders of different types of vehicles. They then discuss the particular difficulties drivers/riders have while sharing the road with other vehicles. Students discuss consequences of failing to consider other road users.

Last updated
31 January 2018