Youth Forum Identifies Peer Pressure as A Major Road Safety Issue


Peer pressure to drive faster and take risks was one of a number of key road safety issues identified at an Australian Automobile Association Youth Forum, held in Adelaide today at the AAA annual conference.

The forum and workshops involved members of the AAA Board representing the State and Territory Motoring Clubs, and 30 people aged between 15 and 35 from both urban and country backgrounds.

There was a general view at the forum that peer pressure encouraged dangerous activities on the roads and was difficult to counter. As one participant told the forum - "I've been in a car where I've been scared but haven't had the guts to say stop."  It was agreed that this issue needed to be addressed in road safety education and advertising by targeting passengers as well as drivers.

Participants also felt that getting a licence was too easy and they recommended longer log-book requirements as part of a more demanding graduated licensing scheme. They felt that anyone losing their licence, no matter what their age, should have to start again with "P" plates when their licence suspension ended.

Other suggestions to emerge from the forum included the view that graphic or threatening advertising was not very effective and that a "teach don't scare" approach was a better option.  It was also felt that advertising and education should be better targeted because of differences between driving requirements and conditions in the country and urban areas, and different gender and generational attitudes.

Another concern to emerge was that younger drivers could only afford older vehicles that lacked the safety technology of modern vehicles. The forum felt there would be value in a HECS-type loan scheme to encourage the purchase of safer vehicles.

The Executive Director of the AAA, Lauchlan McIntosh, said the forum had been innovative and enlightening all participants.

"Our Board members, comprising of the chief executives and elected officials from the State and Territory motoring clubs, were delighted by the fresh ideas and concepts that came from the Youth Forum participants. The forum outcomes should assist them in developing improved road safety programs that reflected the views and needs of younger motorists," Mr. McIntosh said.


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