Parents’ influence under the microscope

12.00 | 2 August 2013 | | 1 comment

The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland) have launched a new campaign which focuses on the influence parents’ driving can have on the way their children drive.

Keith Brown, Scotland’s transport minister described the campaign as “ground-breaking” and a “world first”.

The ‘Kids in the Car’ campaign is based on the premise that every time parents get behind the wheel with their children in the car, they’re giving them a lesson which could save their lives in the future. It draws on research which demonstrates that from a very young age children’s future prospects are influenced to a large extent by their parents’ and carers’ behaviour.

Keith Brown said: “This campaign takes a ground-breaking approach to road safety and provides support and information for parents and carers to help them set a good driving example for children – even from a very young age. It is the first campaign in the world to raise awareness of the profound influence parents have on future road users.

“Every week, a car driver aged between 17 and 20 is killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads. It is vital that this issue is addressed from a young age, to give our children the best possible start when they come to drive themselves. Potentially, the type of driver a child will become is being influenced every time he/she gets into the car with parents or carers.”

In pre-campaign research conducted by YouGov, 36% of those surveyed felt children only start to pay attention to driving between the ages of 9 to16; however, a number of research sources show this to be much younger.

The campaign includes television, cinema, radio and online advertising, social media and PR.

Mairi Blair, assistant director at Road Safety Scotland, said: “The positive examples we constantly aim to set for our children can sometimes be forgotten when we’re driving. Most people think they’re a good driver, but in a rushed or more stressful situation, on the school run for example, these pressures can sometimes mean people act in ways they usually wouldn’t.

“We hope this campaign will emphasise the link between what children see from their vantage point in the back seat of the car from their parents and other role models now, and how they’ll be as drivers themselves in the future. If parents are aware of this link, we hope they’ll be safer drivers now so their kids will be too.”

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    It is a shame that this approach is seen as ground breaking. You do not need to have children to appreciate that the values, attitudes and morals of offspring are primarily influenced by their parents and carers. This is clearly evident in many other walks of life where the values, attitudes and morals are being eroded. In many so called non developed countries the young have far greater values, attitudes and morals and respect for their elders than many western developed countries but have very high fatalities on the road.

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