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In this special safe driving edition:

  • President's message
  • Driving Skills For Life comes to Australia
  • What does the research say?
  • Download and share our infographic

Please enjoy our November ACSSO News.


Read our President's message

A sobering statistic for all parents is that drivers aged 17-25 form 20% of road accident fatalities whilst being only 13.5% of the population..


President's message

Appreciating our teachers

With the end of the year in sight there is the opportunity to reflect on the past year as we look ahead to the coming New Year. Part of this comes with appreciating the dedication and true professionalism of our Teachers.

The official celebration is World Teacher’s Day was held this year on the 30th October. With the ongoing debate surrounding equitable needs-based funding for education, it’s as well to remember our teachers that have to deliver their very best in sometimes less than ideal circumstances.

We as parents have the opportunity to pass on our affirmation of the value and status of teaching to our children’s teachers on a more regular basis, and just having the conversation about your child’s learning opportunities, both at school and in the home, makes a positive difference in all our lives - especially that of our children.

Driving Skills For Life

Staying on the topic of making a positive difference - ACSSO is delighted to announce a partnership with Ford Australia - one that brings Driving Skills for Life to Australia for the first time.

A sobering statistic for all parents is that drivers aged 17-25 form 20% of road accident fatalities whilst being only 13.5% of the population. The key focus of this programme is to give newly licensed drivers the practical skills to respond safely to everyday driving hazards, and deepen the reasoning behind the vital need for safe driving behaviours.

The program is currently being introduced as a pilot with specialist instructors eager to pass on their expertise in a range of practical activities. A key element of this is for parents to recognise our essential and ongoing role in developing safe driving skills in our children. With the summer break fast approaching there will hopefully be ample opportunity to encourage safer driving.

Future focused

Lastly, ACSSO recently attended a Department of Education and Training Forum where Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM, in his role as the Chair of ACARA, gave us an illuminating discourse including the nature of past bright ideas that often focused around replacing teachers with the latest technologies of the day - and failing. It was gratifying to hear that learning remains an essentially social enterprise - in a school - with people. ACARA is continually exploring how it can best support the development of this essential social enterprise. 

Phillip Spratt

This issue of ACSSO News is dedicated to the Driving Skills For Life program. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter to see videos and more images from the initial trials of Driving Skills For Life this week in Sydney.

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Read the full ACSSO Driving Skills for Life media release

Listen to Phillip's recent radio interview


Students at the first training trial, held this week in Sydney's west.

Driving Skills for Life comes to Australia

Ford and The Australian Council of State School Organisations have launched a safe driving program for teens and released a new study of the role parents play in young people's driving skills.

Driving Skills for Life is a community-based program offering in-school education and advanced driver training around the world after launching in 2003 in a small rural U.S. community that experienced nearly 20 teen crash fatalities in less than two years.

This is a hands-on driver safety program that gives recently licensed drivers new skills and information not typically shared in basic driver education courses.   It is believed that the skills shared in Driving Skills For Life could help prevent up to 60 percent of teen accidents.

Ford researchers identified the lack of four key skills for teen drivers – hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management, and speed management. In this program, students learn those critical skills in hands-on driver training from some of the nation’s top professional driving instructors. 

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And the survey says...

A Ford-commissioned survey by Galaxy of 400 parents and 400 teens aged 17-19 years shows parents admit to some riskier driving habits than newly licensed teenagers and their children rely on them as role models.

Australian drivers aged 17-25 represent 20 percenti of all vehicle crash fatalities even though they only represent 13.5 percent of the driving population, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – Road Trauma Australia 2014 Statistical Summary.

With many Australian teenagers driving away from school for the last time at this end of the year, the reinforced the importance of parents continuing the driver safety discussions at the dinner table.

  • Nearly two-thirds (61%) of teenagers aged 17-19 surveyed report their parents regularly mention the importance of safe driving and that it serves as a good reminder, but this figure drops to 22% once teenagers become fully licensed
  • More than 20% of teenagers admit to doing risky things behind the wheel, including pulling out without checking mirrors, applying makeup, or driving the morning after a late night drinking session
  • Almost half of young respondents (49%) report raised voices during driving lessons with their parents 
  • More than 30% of mothers and 19% of fathers say driving lessons caused relationship issues with their children. 
  • The gender match between parents and teens also is important as male teens look more to their dads (43% compared to 36% for females) and females seeking out their mums (37% compared to 30% for males) 

Teens want to learn from their parents but challenges could arise if they witness their parents drive in risky ways or have conflict with them while learning to drive

The survey reported that 86% of teens and 89% of parents admit to occasionally engaging in at least one bad habit or potentially unsafe driving behaviour.

The most common driving faults evident amongst parents and teens are:

  • Occasionally ‘driving while tired’ - 70% of parents compared to 57% of teenagers
  • ‘Sending a text message, checking Facebook or taking a selfie while on the road’, 28% of parents and 18% of teens
  • Using a ‘mobile to call when it’s not linked to Bluetooth’ 21% of parents and 15% of teens 
Download and share this research infographic

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