Roads to achieving Zero Victims
Curricular education and preaching by example
Road safety education undeniably has a social commitment component. Six of every ten parents believe they always respect the rules, according to the 1st Barometer on Road Safety Education in Spain conducted by Fundación MAPFRE. Testimonies and personal stories are fundamental to inculcating accident prevention values in the little ones.
“Target Zero Fatalities” is one of the most important challenges facing Fundación MAPFRE in road safety education. It has set the year 2030 as the deadline for reducing the victims on urban streets to zero – a figure achieved in localities with over 100,000 inhabitants such as Alcalá de Henares, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat or Vitoria in 2014 – extending this outside the cities by the year 2050. Fundación MAPFRE is firmly committed to educational programs, highlighting those related to road safety education for school-age children.
“Accident prevention is a complex, universal task. This is the reason why close collaboration between the public authorities and society in general is so necessary,” says Julio Domingo Souto, General Manager of Fundación MAPFRE.
The number of victims on Spanish roads has fallen dramatically in recent years: 1,126 people (a new historic minimum) died in 2015, five fewer than during the previous year, according to data from the Interior Ministry. This is the lowest figure since 1960, when data for this kind of accidents were first recorded. There is still a long way to go. The home and school environments are the most influential places for the little ones, in order to make them safe pedestrians and responsible drivers in the future.
The family, the main road safety education “center”
Six of every ten parents claim they “always” respect traffic regulations. However, a worrying aspect is that 37.9 percent of parents who admit they respect the rules “more in the presence of their children” and the one percent that does so “only on long journeys”, according to data drawn from the 1st Barometer on Road Safety Education in Spain, conducted by Fundación MAPFRE in 2015 with the participation of 526 teachers and 206 parents.
The family home is the prime scenario where children should learn and reinforce conduct related to road safety questions
The family home is the prime scenario where children should learn and reinforce conduct related to road safety questions. “What we parents tell our children to do or what they see us doing remains etched in their brain for the rest of their lives,” says Jesús Monclús, manager of the Prevention and Road Safety Area at Fundación MAPFRE.
In other words, there is nothing better than preaching by example. Children take good note of the infractions committed by adults. Speeding takes first place (with 36.4 percent), followed by the use of a cell phone while driving (29.6 percent), not wearing a seat belt (17.5 percent), aggressive behavior behind the wheel (13.1 percent) and failing to use child restraint systems and/or booster seats for the little ones (3 percent).
Consolidation of road safety education in all schools
As well as parental behavior, the importance that is afforded to teaching road safety in the educational sphere is fundamental. It is in classrooms where children continue receiving information on how to behave as pedestrians and how to become responsible drivers.
“One of the groups in which fatalities from traffic accidents has fallen most sharply is young people aged 20 to 30, the most targeted age group for road education programs in recent years,” says Monclús.
According to data from the report drafted by Fundación MAPFRE, both parents and teachers coincide in rating most positively the road education currently given in Spanish educational centers, although they point to the need to strengthen its presence within the educational project implemented by each school.
Monclús: “One of the groups in which fatalities from traffic accidents has fallen most sharply is young people aged 20 to 30, the most targeted age group for road education programs in recent years”
PREVENTION AND VIABILITY AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
Last year over a million children from 23 countries received road safety education thanks to the free programs run by Fundación MAPFRE in collaboration with educational centers in countries such as Peru or Colombia. These are countries where traffic accidents are the second leading cause of violent death among young people. Moreover, young people participated in training activities such as Bicis y Cascos (Bikes and Helmets) in Spain, as well as others of similar characteristics which seek to promote the safe riding of bicycles, motorcycles and mopeds in countries such as Argentina and Chile.
Lack of teacher training
This barometer also indicates the widespread support of both groups with regard to having a specific road safety education subject on the school curriculum, a proposal which has the support of 58 percent of teachers and 63.1 percent of the parents surveyed. For Fundación MAPFRE the key issue is to translate the current legal requirement to provide road safety education into incorporating it into the stipulated educational plans for all schools. Currently, road safety education appears within the Social Sciences and Civic & Social Values subjects at elementary school. Similarly, these contents are included in a transversal fashion at high school, depending on the region of the country.
The lack of adequately trained faculty is one of the main obstacles. Eight out of every ten teachers admit they have never received any information or participated in specific programs on road safety education. However, many of them do say it is easy to find resources related to road safety education to include in their classes. This lack of training is of concern to Fundación MAPFRE, an institution which has been offering educational programs on road safety and accident prevention for 20 years now. “Fundación MAPFRE will promote road safety and accident prevention training programs to ensure that all teachers are sufficiently trained and motivated in prevention and road safety issues” according to Jesús Monclús. For the time being, they are offering a free 20-hour online course, with the aim of supporting them in the most effective manner possible as regards introducing road safety education into their classes. And they will shortly be presenting an innovative new prevention and road safety education project.
Parents and teachers appreciate the importance of the campaigns; they consider the most effective to be those with testimonies and personal stories of those who have suffered some kind of accident (48.5 percent), followed by the prevention sessions offered in grade and high schools (38 percent). In contrast, both groups view as “not very or not at all effective” administrative sanctions and fines, this being the opinion of 69.5 percent of teachers and 71.3 percent of parents.
Monclús: “Fundación MAPFRE will promote road safety and accident prevention training programs to train and motivate teachers in this field”