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Road Safety Education

Road Safety Education

1.  Introduction
Education has been consistently viewed as the method of safety promotion that will lead to the ultimate degree of injury prevention. Education often precedes with other methods since people must be aware of the traffic safety need before they will authorize engineers and personnel to act. In addition, education has the responsibility of informing the public of new equipment or enforcement procedures. Basic principles of road safety are promoted by NGOs, schools, universities, clubs, parents, media and many others. 
Increased education in Lebanon should be considered as an essential part of improving road safety. A well designed methodology of providing such education is equally important. Visualization can be highly effective in providing safety education. In Lebanon, with the enhancement in the capability of computers and reduction in price, the computer and the multimedia are already effective tools for education.  Road safety is an issue for several partners in society. The Lebanese Government should have an overall responsibility for the general security and safety of children. This includes should include road safety.
The objective of this chapter is to describe and analyze the present situation in Lebanon regarding road safety education in schools and to present some recommendations as to what the educational materials should include.

 
2.  Situation and Observations
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MoPWT) should work with road safety education. Unfortunately, government agencies are not doing enough efforts to have effective roles in road safety education. 
Only some Civil Society Organizations such as YASA and SRF are taking care of educating
Youth on road safety. For example, they coordinated, since 2001, with the Internal Security Forces in an ongoing project that is repeated yearly on the Arab week for traffic safety to put vehicles that are seriously damaged by road accidents in most universities to show young drivers the possible result of reckless driving on roads.


3.  General Remarks about Education of Children
It is a fact that children will be better equipped for the dangers in the traffic and become safer drivers if the road safety education starts at early stages. The earlier traffic awareness is taught in school the better the result will be later. Early training will serve two valuable objectives. In the short term, it will help the young children to better understand the basics about dangers in traffic, and in the long term, it will be an investment for their future, as it lays the foundation of improved awareness as adults, hopefully resulting in better behavior and attitudes towards the next generation.
Although children may have a thorough knowledge of traffic conditions and rules, meaning that they know the signals, road signs and the rule of the road, there is no guarantee that they will make use of such knowledge when they are on their own in traffic. Most children do what they see their parents do or other adults and older youth. They take after their pattern and look at how their parents react and behave in traffic. Therefore adults play a major role in teaching and acting as role model for their children.
Road education should provide children with programs adapted to each stage in their development process. This would consequently also involve environmental education by using the near-environment as a pedagogical resource. By such an approach, the children would learn about traffic functions and how to manage the risks in their own world of reality, without having too much supervision of adults. This should be part of self-learning and self-experience reality lessons. Such lessons give children the best awareness.
 
4.  Identified Problems and Suggested Improvements
4.1  Problem Statement
Road safety education for children is essential. It is therefore compulsory and should be integrated in the curriculum from kindergarten through to secondary school. And, the material’s complexity should be increased with age as already mentioned above.
When examining the material used in Lebanese schools we can see a need for improving the existing material for teachers and students. Since the current material is inserted in the textbook for civics. There is a risk that the road safety subject will not be properly focused on. Therefore a material made especially for road safety should be produced. It should include traffic rules and signs and also information on how to behave safely in traffic. The material should be directed towards teachers, children and parents.
In addition, there should be particular pedagogical guidelines for teachers in order to assist them in teaching children.
Road safety is especially important for the intermediate school since students of the ages 12–15 start to move around on their own, not only on foot but also by bicycle or moped.
The Long term strategy would be to:
Include road safety as a separate subject in the curriculum.
Include special safety education for teachers.
Produce corresponding educational materials for the different stages in the school.
Continuously follow up and improve the material produced.
Follow up the statistics showing how many children are involved in traffic accidents.
4.2  Background
Small children accept to use seatbelts and to wear helmets – they do not question this. But immediately as they get a bit older and start school, it is not always easy for adults to ensure and convince the children anymore. Other strong influences – friends and older youth – have substantial behavioral impact. That is the moment when facts are important and independent safety measures should be part of every child’s own thoughts. But it is of course hard to implement if the adults do not behave correctly in traffic.
Children spend a lot of their time in school learning many things for life. Road safety should be one of them – it is not only about behavior in society, it is a cheap “life insurance”.
4.3  Present Situation
The school system in Lebanon is built up by public and private schools, where more than 50 % of the students are attending the private schools. The Obligatory Education Law no 686/98 issued by the Lebanese Parliament still has not been enforced to this date. However, most children continue school through the three stages: primary, intermediary and secondary, that is, until the age of 18. Around 1 million children, attend school presently in Lebanon. There is of course a big difference in resources between the private and the public schools. This is also reflected in road safety education and the safety surrounding the schools.
There is no reliable statistics on how many children are injured in traffic per year. But an assessment made by the SRF in July 2001 says that pedestrians represent over 40 per cent of all fatalities.
4.4  Present Plans
 There is an outspoken wish in Lebanon to increase the road safety knowledge among children and students.  The MoEHE stills in the beginning steps of working for road safety. YASA is developing more campaigns to educate children and youth such as the TSEG.
 4.4.1  Road Safety Education in the Schools (7 To 13 years old)
This section gives examples as to what could be included for safety education.
YASA has launched, in 1998, a unique project that combines traffic safety education and entertainment. The Traffic Safety Educational Garden (TSEG) is designed for 7 to 13 years old children. YASA has already organized this project in many schools, clubs, camps, exhibitions and other public gatherings have already participated in this project.  More than 100,000 children participated in this project in Lebanon until end of the year 2004 and were encouraged to abide traffic safety measures. 
TSEG has 4 circuits, each consists of five minicars, five helmets and road signs: a fixed circuit in Beirut City District and three other circuits moving in Lebanon.
In the TSEG, which is just an initiation to the basic principles of road safety, YASA tries in different ways to follow-up road safety issues according to the different age categories. Visualization is highly effective in the TSEG who is divided into three parts: theoretical, practical and evaluation. Each part can be described as follows:
Theoretical Part
Video Presentation
A Video Tape lasting between 15 and 20 minutes about the following topics:
Introduction to road safety
Danger of speeding and the importance of helmet use
Importance of using pedestrian bridges
Promotion about child seat
Promotion about seatbelt usage
Comments on different mistakes and driving ethics
Danger of speeding
Traffic lights and road signs
Seat belt and airbag
Discussion:
A 15-minute discussion is organized with a YASA senior trainer about safety issues.
Theoretical Test
After the completion of the above steps the children take a test about the knowledge gained during the sessions.
Practical Part
Technical Instructions
The YASA supervisor gives some technical instructions about the driving session such as the seat – belt and helmet use.
Driving
All participants drive 2 to 4 laps under the control & supervision of the site manager. The number of laps varies according to the route distance.

4.4.2  Education for Students between 13–18 Years 
When students reach the level of secondary school, that is, ages of 13–18 years, they are interested in driving mopeds and later cars and they therefore need to know how to behave as drivers. Since many young students in Lebanon start driving cars before they reach the age of 18, one idea could be to arrange for certified theory training, preparing them for a driver’s license, already in the secondary school. 
Students need to know some rules. But only what is relevant to them at their age and stage of development, unless these rules can have an impact on the way they are going to act or can expect drivers to behave in a particular situation.
Suggested subjects to discuss in class accompanied by relevant material are:
Checking the vehicle
Where to drive on a public road – stick to the lanes
Always drive on the right hand side of the road
Not more than two pedestrians/cyclists beside each other – do not block the road
Do not hold on to other moped drivers
Giving signals
Traffic lights
Crossings
Relevant traffic signs and road markings
Signals by the Police to road users
Usage of helmets when driving mopeds and motorcycles

Knowing yourself
We have to know our own limitations as human beings in order to compensate for them. Children have some physical and psychological limitations that can give them difficulties, for instance, limited size, they cannot see oncoming traffic when behind or between parked cars waiting to step off the kerb to cross the street. Neither do they have the same capacity for simultaneous observations if, for example, a football rolls out onto the street and they will run after it to get it. It is not certain they will check for traffic before running out into the street. According to scientific studies, children have not developed proper physical co-ordination of their body until they are in their teens. It is hard for them to steer and break at the same time. Although they might have a good overview at a crossing, they can still misjudge distances and speeds of other vehicles.
Suggested subjects in order to improve the knowledge about own limitations are:
Basic skills – e.g. why using seatbelts
Moving off roads
Slowing down and stopping
Pedaling, balancing and steering

4.4.3.        Understanding other road users
Students must be made aware of other road users’ behavior. They need to learn how to evaluate drivers’ behavior, from attention and intention. Dangerous ages could be young drivers who often are reckless and hilarious road users, small children (that can make sudden moves and run out in the streets), and elderly persons whose reactions as well as physical ability can be reduced.
Suggested subjects are:
Errors made by others
Assessment of fellow road users
Reckless drivers
Eye contact with other drivers and pedestrians
Animals
Alcohol, medicines and drugs
Other vehicles
One must judge the other vehicles in order to decide how to behave or to react: what type of vehicle, the speed and the distance, etc.
Suggested subjects are:
Distinguish between different types of vehicles
Speed
Distance from you
Blind angels
Car indicators

Roads
The different types of roads, motorways, streets, expressways, imply distinctive behavior according to furniture: signs, markings, pavements, and zebra crossings, etc. Bad alignment and other road conditions also have an impact on the drivers and your own behavior.
Suggested subjects are:
Difference between dangers on busy roads and roads with less traffic
Road and weather problems
Assessment of roads (e. g. curves)
Roads with bad conditions
Parked cars or other obstacles on the road
Intersections
Types of traffic problems near school, home and shops
In order to choose the safest way, the students must be made aware of the season (rainy, public holidays, etc.) because that can influence the numbers of vehicles, potential climatic dangers as well as the driver’s behavior. This applies to students both as pedestrians and drivers. That also goes for day of the week as well as time of the day. The rush hour is a well-known time to avoid, but the rush hour may vary in time and duration between different parts of the country and between different months.
Suggested subjects are:
Dangerous time of the day (mornings, lunch hour and end of workday)
How to be noticed/seen in the dark
Tactic rules
Considering all these above-mentioned factors, one must decide the safest tactic to move from one place to another. Some of the tactic rules that can and always should be used, are to make sure that other road users have observed you and that you clearly show your intention. Other tactical rules are to always try to predict what can happen in the next moment, and always to stay away from other road users, as far as possibly.
Suggested subjects are:
How to be visible to others
Always keep your distance from others
Show your intention
Try to predict what is going to happen.

4.4.4.Information to Teachers 
Teachers need to have guidelines for their classes and ideas how to integrate road safety education into different subjects whether Arabic, civics, geography, mathematics, biology, physics or history, etc.
A special workshop organized by YASA,  recommend the following steps:
Evaluate existing material for teachers.
Ask teachers for an evaluation and appreciation of their thoughts regarding road safety education, e.g. through focus groups.
Based on the result from the above mentioned, write a plan for improvement of existing material and adding new material – like a teachers guide for “Survival guidelines for children”.
Make a long-term plan for educating teachers including material, seminars, etc.
Normally, a compiled guideline for road safety education to teachers should include a number of different subjects like Safe road to school, High Speed, Safe cycling, to be seen in the dark, Alcohol and drugs. Each of the subjects could have the following headlines for their respective part:
Facts
Suggestions for class themes
Student assignments with answers
Recommendations for discussion meetings with parents
Value based assignments (“this is how I should behave according to traffic rules”)

4.4.5  Information to the General Public
In order to improve the awareness of the general public of the children’s situation in traffic, information campaigns have been set up by YASA with most media stations in Lebanon.
Newspapers,  magazines, radio and Television programs
 Facts about traffic crashes are published with the circumstances and wrong traffic behavior that lead to the injury. The survival guidelines are explained and promoted both in ordinary programs/shows, and in jingles in commercial breaks. This work is carried out mainly by different members from the 2 NGOs YASA and SRF.

4.4.6  Information to Drivers
At the same time more actions and campaigns should be launched through different networks. There are several ways of doing it but the best idea is to support YASA that has showed interest in working with the subject and have the contacts to participate in conferences and other meetings. YASA has its own network in society and should hence be able to spread the knowledge and information about road safety for children and parents. This is a cost-effective way to reach more people with information and advice for a safer road environment.
In this information to drivers, it is important to stress on specific messages regarding children’s behavior. For instance, children have a problem with deciding from which direction a sound appears, and it is therefore not enough or can even be dangerous to honk the horn (make a sound signal), because this could make the children even more confused and force them to do dangerous maneuvers.
 
Summary
‘Children’ are between the most vulnerable road users. It is crucial to give them a proper road safety education so that they will understand their responsibility as road users. Early training will serve two valuable objectives. In the short term, it will help the young children to better understand the basics about dangers in traffic, and in the long term, it will be an investment for their future, as it lays the foundation of improved awareness as adults, hopefully resulting in better behavior and attitudes towards the next generation.
Unfortunately, the road safety subject is almost absent from the Lebanese official programs. Therefore, the Lebanese government should prepare a material made especially for road safety. It should include traffic rules and signs and also how to behave safely in traffic. The material should be directed towards teachers, children and parents.
In addition, there should be particular training for teachers in order to assist them in teaching the children. The material for the teachers is critical. They need to have guidelines for their classes and ideas how to integrate road safety education into different subjects whether Arabic, civics, geography, mathematics, biology, physics or history, etc.
In order to improve the situation the following strategy is proposed: 
Include road safety as an important subject in the curriculum.
Include special safety education for teachers.
Produce corresponding educational material for the different stages in the school with the cooperation of YASA which has a long experience in safety education.
Continuously follow up and improve the material produced.
Follow up the statistics showing how many children are involved in traffic crashes.
prepared by M. Ziad Akl

Lebanon , Traffic Safety

Date: 8/26/2011 12:32:16 PM

By: YASA WEB , YASA
 
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PATRICK AKL

NICE ARTICLE

Date Time: 4/21/2012 9:38 PM
Traffic Safety