What kind of
driver are you raising?

Make every
drive a good example

Children learn more from your behaviour than you may realise. How you drive can have a huge influence on your children, and the type of driver they will be in the future.

Research shows children begin absorbing their parents' or carer’s driving behaviour from a very early age and they learn how to drive long before they get their learner's permit. Positive role modelling by parents has a huge influence on how children drive in the future and instilling safe practices and attitudes from a young age is a key factor in achieving our long-term goal of no serious injuries or lives lost on our roads.

We recently asked a group of young children to draw a picture of a time an adult was driving and how this made them feel.  The results give every parent or carer a chance to think about how their driving is seen by young passengers - a reminder to make every drive a good example.

What do
kids think?

Positive role modelling creates a safer generation of drivers

In their first year of driving, young people in Victoria are almost 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash than more experienced drivers.

This means those aged 18-25 years remain over-represented in road trauma, despite the dramatic fall in lives lost on our roads since 1989.

In 2016, 19% of people who died on our roads were young drivers; however this group only represents around 10% of Victorian licence holders.

Of the 29 young drivers who lost their lives on our roads in 2016:

  • 76% were male
  • 55% were killed in regional Victoria (94% of these were killed on 100+km/h roads)
  • 69% were killed in single vehicle crashes
  • 62% were involved in crashes that occurred in high alcohol times

More information on parents as role models and the research used here

Young Driver Lives Lost 1987-2017

asked questions

What’s the aim of this campaign?

To help make tomorrow’s young drivers safer and encourage . good role modelling as research shows the process of learning to drive starts many years before a person gets their L or P-plates. Parents and carers have a powerful role as their behaviour in the driver’s seat is likely to be copied when the child gets their P-plates. Children are like sponges. Habits like speeding or texting while driving are things children can pick up from the back seat without parents even noticing.

Positive role modelling aims to reduce the impact of road trauma among 18-25 year old drivers.  About 1-in-5 driver deaths are young people despite making up only 10% of licence holders in Victoria. International research  demonstrates a strong link between parents’ driving styles and the driving style of their children in their first year on their P-plates.

Who is this campaign aimed at?

The TAC is urging parents or carers of primary school-aged children to use  their influence to help their children to become safer drivers in the future. Learn more about parenting responsibilities and road safety.

What are the main areas of road safety that children should know about?

Road crashes are the major cause of death for young children - from the ages of 0 to 15 years, approximately 20 are killed and 400 seriously injured on Victorian roads each year. Road safety is broad and includes learning how to make safe choices as a pedestrian or on a scooter, a bicycle, and using public transport.  It is essential children learn how to behave safely and to think about the road from a young age.

Why is it so important to talk to kids about being safe near the roads?

Children act on impulse, have difficulty judging and cannot use the roads safely on their own until they have been taught how to. Learn more about developing road safety skills with children.

How does this campaign make parents and carers become better driving role models?

Often adults underestimate how much their children are watching and learning from their actions. This campaign shows how everything that is happening in the front seat is being picked up by a young passenger strapped in the back seat. The young boy in the back seat is going through the motions of being a bad driver – he’s honking the horn, cursing other drivers, talking on the phone.

You’ll also see that in the front seat, his father is doing the same thing. The pair is attached by puppet strings to highlight the link between the father’s behaviour and his son’s.

Can you tell me more about the research that this campaign is based on?

Like all of the TAC’s activities, this campaign is heavily backed by research. In addition to looking in great detail at road trauma data relating to young drivers, we looked to studies that found significant links between parents’ driving styles – particularly anxious or aggressive styles – and the driving style demonstrated by their children a year after gaining their licence.

Following on from this study, the TAC conducted research with Victorian parents to understand their attitudes towards role modelling. That research found that parents generally understood that they were role models to their children but they didn’t consider their road use behaviour as a significant area of influence. So this campaign seeks to give those parents the same awareness around the effect of their driving behaviour on their children’s eventual driving behaviour that already exists around behaviours like swearing and drinking.

Why is the TAC spending money on this campaign?

We know that money spent changing the attitudes and behaviours of Victorian drivers through this type of campaigning does make a difference and that is reflected in the marked downward trend in road trauma since these types of public education activities began.

What is it about young drivers that make them particularly susceptible to road trauma?

Research has demonstrated that young drivers are at greater danger because they are inexperienced and they are more likely to take risks on the road. Some of the behaviours that increase the risks of crashing among young drivers include:

  • Driving with passengers in their own peer group
  • Night time driving
  • Use of mobile phones
  • Drink and drug driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving older, less safe cars

More information on
road safety for parents

Child restraints

Choosing and using correctly fitted and properly adjusted child restraints is an important part of parenting. Find out more about child restraints.

Teaching children road safety

Children use the road in different ways including walking, riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards, public transport and riding in cards with adults. It is important to ensure children are safe on our roads and how parents and carers can help to protect young children from harm. Read more about teaching children road safety.

Teaching Learner Drivers

It is vital you, as a parent, give your child the experience they need to be safe when driving on the roads, the more practice learner driver has in all road conditions, the safer they will be on the roads when they get their probationary license. Read more about teaching learner drivers.

Teaching P Plate Drivers

The first six months are the most dangerous for P plate drivers.  You can visit the Safer P Platers website  where you will find a range of information to help your young drivers through the “red".

Parental role model


As road users we can’t control everything on our roads and we can’t stop the unexpected but we can control our actions. Together we can work Towards Zero deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads.

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