Parents in Scotland are being encouraged to adopt more positive behaviours behind the wheel when driving with children – with the help of a new road safety book.
‘Ziggy’s Sports Day’, commissioned by Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland), is the latest ‘Go Safe with Ziggy!’ resource and has been distributed to all Primary 1 classrooms across Scotland.
Launched in 2010, Go Safe with Ziggy is Road Safety Scotland’s flagship programme for children in their early years, which features the Ziggy character who has recently landed on Earth and needs help navigating the planet’s roads.
Written by children’s author Lynda Kennedy, the latest story focuses on staying calm behind the wheel, being courteous to other drivers and making the car a phone-free zone.
Lynda Kennedy said: “We’ve moved a long way from the old ‘stop, look and listen’ approach to crossing the road. Children can learn all this verbatim in practice, but sometimes fail to do it in real life because there is too much going on around them.
“With the Ziggy books, the audience is as much about the parents as the children, as grown-ups’ road safety behaviours are mirrored by their children.
“This means we have to teach the parents as much as the children, as they often do risky things, such as crossing a road before the ‘green man’ turns green.”
Road Safety Scotland says research shows youngsters can adopt poor driving habits long before getting behind the wheel – based on what they see others doing.
Michael Matheson, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for transport, said: “Children begin picking up on driving behaviours from a young age, often mirroring what others say and do, so it’s vital that we teach positive road safety behaviours at this early stage.
“Children who regularly witness bad driving habits such as anger, frustration or texting behind the wheel may pick up these habits and carry them into adulthood as they begin to learn to drive themselves.
“As young drivers continue to be over-represented in Scottish road casualty statistics, it’s as important as ever to be talking to parents and children about this in order to shape the habits of our future generation of drivers.”