Road Safety News

Academy unveils new road safety Foundation course

Wednesday 17th April 2013

A new course designed to deliver the basic skills, knowledge, and understanding required to deliver a road safety intervention is being developed by the Road Safety GB Academy.

The Road Safety Practitioner Foundation Course provides participants with an overview of the whole process from identifying a road safety issue, to developing an intervention and through to evaluation. It is ideal for someone who has just entered the road safety profession, or is taking on a road safety role as a secondary task.

Cheryl Evans, head of training at the Road Safety GB Academy, said: “Over the last two decades road safety practice has developed significantly and is now widely recognised as a specialist area of education.

“Recognising this, the Road Safety Practitioner Foundation Course aims to provide participants with an overview of the knowledge and skills they need to effectively and safely deliver a road safety educational intervention.

“By the end of the course a participant will be able to assess the need for, and critically analyse, an educational intervention (based on data); understand the importance of research and evaluation; and understand the need to work in partnership with other organisations.”

The course is structured around a project and takes participants through all elements of its development. Ideally this should be a ‘real’ project that the participant is currently working on but if this is not possible the participant is given a project to develop.

The course comprises four-day contact time broken into 2 X 2 day sessions with approximately five weeks between the two sessions. Over this five-week period participants are required to complete an assignment relating to the topic covered in the initial two-day session. A final assignment, which forms the final assessment, has to be completed four weeks after the second session.

Cheryl Evans added: “The first pilot course has been completed, with positive feedback from participants, and a second pilot will take place in the coming months. Following this we will revise the course as required and then submit it for accreditation, before rolling it out late this year or early in 2014.

The course is based on the Road Safety Practitioners Standard, as developed by Road Safety GB, which outlines a practitioner’s role as: “To provide, or facilitate the provision, of road safety education and training that seeks to establish, maintain and adapt personal road user behaviours that maximise safety.”

For more information about the new course contact Cheryl Evans on 01635 519984.


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We must be clear about why this course and the new Academy has been developed. For many years, road safety officers and other professionals, many of whom are highly qualified and very capable, have worked very hard, with limited resources to assist in changing behaviour and attitude, that will help to reduce casualties.

Road safety education has always been the little brother in the 4 E's with engineering playing the major role in casualty reduction for the most part over the years. We have largely ironed out our high casualty spots and lengths and we are now in a world where casualties are much more random. We have moved into a time where engineering is having less of an effect (our roads are some of the safest in the world) and we must now concentrate efforts on dealing with the human factor. If we cannot change human behaviour we will always have an issue, no matter how safe our vehicles or our roads become. Education and training for road safety professionals has diminished or changed for various reasons over recent years and it is now time to ensure the profession once again properly equipped.

The course is designed to help new and existing road safety practitioners understand human behaviour, motivation, and evaluation of interventions, and sets the scene for other courses of a higher level that will form a national framework of training and qualifications. It is important that in the future those who deliver road safety 'messages' and other interventions have the right skills and knowledge to be able to carry out the work of behavioural change without unintended consequences. There are some who believe that anything is better than nothing, or that certain images will do the trick. This course dispels those beliefs and provides practitioners with common sense approaches based on sound educational and psychological principles.

If we are to seriously make an impact on road users, we must give our practitioners the right skills to deal with the issues in a coordinated, professional way.
Alan Kennedy - Chairman Road Safety GB

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

Nick: I took it that Duncan' opening line referred to advertising campaigns and other educational road safety interventions in which case I still agree with him to a degree, however if I misinterpreted it and he is refering to all road safety interventions then at the risk of generalising too much, most do 'work' in the sense that they influence for the better, road users' behaviour (Enforcement) and make the environment more forgiving (Engineering).
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

I'm with 'Dave, Leeds'.

Duncan MacKillop may be making a serious point, and there may be some credence in what he is saying, but in my opinion he destroys his credibility and his argument with his over the top opening statement:

"Apart from one or two notable campaigns most road safety interventions are pretty useless."

He would have been better advised to construct a case rather than lead with a throwaway sensationalist remark.

I have to say he is not the only contributor to do so on this website.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

I agree with Duncan to some extent. Some road safety advertising campaigns have been badly thought out and deliver completely the wrong message. The two campaigns he mentioned however are memorable and I think did drive the messages home at the time. Of the 3 'E's of road safety, 'education' is the hardest to appraise as it's difficult to observe what effect (if any) any education orientated intervention - whether general advertising or specific targeting - has on an individual without following them around to see how they behave as a road user.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

"Apart from one or two notable campaigns most road safety interventions are pretty useless."

Any evidence to support that assertion which so arrogantly dimisses the hard work done by many road safety teams across the country over the years or is that just an opinion?
Dave, Leeds

Agree (14) | Disagree (1)

Apart from one or two notable campaigns most road safety interventions are pretty useless. Will this course help participants to identify why this is so?

My all time favourite is "Clunk-Click" which was a work of pure genius as was "Wear something bright at night". The reason these campaigns were so very good was that they used sequence rather than facts to get the message across. The sequence "Clunk the car door then click the seatbelt" is a fantastic example of sequence in action. The wear something bright campaign also used sequence but in a poetical form as bright and night make a nice rhyme.

Sequences are much easier to learn than simple facts because the brain likes to have a structural framework for its knowledge.

Sequences are so powerful it's a wonder that 'educators' make so little use of them, prefering instead to deliver facts which on their own are worse than useless.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (4) | Disagree (7)

Road safety education and publicity services are a statutory duty that every local highways authority is required to provide by law. These services are provided to the whole community not just to school children. You may not see so much of this work as it is focussed at specific communities and groups. There are programmes aimed at motorcyclists; older drivers; cyclists; people driving for work and many others. This is not always headline grabbing stuff but it is our bread and butter work going on every day in road safety teams throughout the country.
Honor Byford, Vice Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (20) | Disagree (0)

Nick: I'm not sure any clarification was needed - I gathered it was about training people involved in road safety to deliver messages rather than the public anyway, but it's nearly always, as you have highlighted, to the younger road users and I was taking the opportunity to point out that the older road user on wheels need as much, if not more, education which is harder to achieve and is often overlooked.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (6)

Just to clarify, the new Foundation course referred to in this item is for people involved in delivering road safety initiatives, not for the public. An example could be a firefighter who is involved in engaging with young drivers about road safety, or a PCSO who is involved in road safety education in primary schools, or someone who is new to road safety ETP (education training and publicity). The Foundation course is designed to give these people the knowledge and skills they need to develop and deliver a road safety intervention as part of their role.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

If these skills are ultimately for the benefit of the younger and more vulnerable road users, peds/cyclist etc. then that’s fine, as they will probably be more receptive, but when it comes to the “grown-ups on wheels’’ too many feel they do not need to be educated , as they ‘know it all already’ and anyway their driving/riding is already ‘faultless’. Therein lies the fundamental problem of road safety education - how do you get those who would benefit the most to accept that they need it in the first place?
‘Forced’ Driver Education classes and Speed Awareness Courses as a consequence of motoring offences are a good idea, as the attendees would otherwise probably not have voluntarily sought out any form of driver ed., but some attendees ironically don’t feel they should be there at all and consequently can start off being a much harder target audience to educate.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (10)