Creating Sustainable Community Partnerships to Promote Road Safety in Schools: Case Study: Fit to Drive (F2D)

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Graham Spencer
Kerry Montero

This paper describes an innovative, transferable and sustainable community partnership approach to the prevention and reduction of road crashes amongst young drivers. The Fit to Drive (f2d) model is a community intervention strategy, led by university undergraduates to empower young people to be safer road users. The continued over-representation of young drivers in casualty crashes in Victoria, Australia, has resulted in the development of Government legislation and road safety education interventions that focus specifically on young drivers and road users. This paper explores the collaborative ability and potential of the f2d “community” (local school groups, local government, and community road safety groups) to support multi stakeholder (e.g. Police, Road Rescue Emergency Services) and Victorian Government road safety initiatives. The Fit to Drive (f2d) program is aimed at personal safety, behavior change and risk minimisation rather than driving skills. Initial findings and experience indicate that the undergraduate peer led approach combined with targeted community partnerships is an effective local community road safety response and community capacity building model (Verity 2007). This paper explores the development of the f2d community networks and the steps taken to involve local school groups, local government and universities in the development of a coordinated, partnership approach to road safety education. The paper describes the theoretical basis for the program and the key features of the half day year 11 f2d workshop, including the central role of the selected and trained university students as road safety role models and educators. The Fit to Drive (f2d) model offers a potentially valuable example for other communities to adopt and develop according to local conditions and within the context of the United Nations’ “Decade of Road Safety Action”.

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