We open tight on the face of an innocent looking child. We slowly pull out and see that he's sitting in a single car seat on a stage.
He is driving an imaginary car, waving as he is let in by an imaginary driver.
We see the boy looking over his shoulder as if to check for traffic. His arms are being supported by strings.
We pull out a little wider and the boy appears to reach for an imaginary cell phone to read a text message. Suddenly he looks up from the phone and corrects his steering. He shouts and gesticulates angrily towards an imaginary driver.
We continue pulling away from the child until we see that the strings are attached to his father in the driver's seat.
We see the father perform a mirror check, before pulling out his mobile phone to talk as he continues to drive. Each action from the father is mirrored by the boy.
We end on the words:
What kind of driver are you raising?
Make every drive a good example.
End of the transcript
Strings - Parental role modelling
The truth is that your kids learn more from your behaviour than you think they do.
Positive role modelling by parents of 5-12 year olds has the potential to have a huge influence on their child's future driving behaviour.
The TAC has used this key piece of research to develop this, our latest campaign and the next stage of our long-term Parents and Road Safety Strategy. The goal of the strategy is to reduce road trauma for young drivers in their first months of solo driving and beyond.
Instilling safe driving behaviours and attitudes from a young age is key to achieving this goal.
In their first year of driving, young Victorians are almost four times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash than more experienced drivers.
This means that despite a large reduction in Victoria's road fatalities since 1989, 18-25 year olds remain over-represented in road trauma.
While 18 to 25 year olds represent around 14% of all licenced drivers, they accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of all fatalities on Victoria's roads.
A review of young drivers by the Australian Federal Office of Road Safety, now the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), found them to be at greater risk on the roads for a variety of reasons including:
- lack of experience
- limited ability and judgement
- underestimation of risks
- deliberate risk-taking behaviours and
- use of alcohol and drugs.
A Graduated Licensing System (GLS) has now been introduced in Victoria with new requirements for learner drivers, probationary license holders and young drivers aged up to 25. Find out more about the Victorian Graduated Licensing System (GLS)
There is now considerable evidence that parental role modelling can play an important role in preventing the development of problem behaviours. Social learning theory holds that humans learn many of their behaviours by observing other humans, often referred to as models (Miller and Taubman – Ben-Ari, 2010). Learning occurs when a person's responses are influenced by the observation of others. As the theory has been refined, it has become apparent that certain types of models and outcomes are more influential than others. For example, people are more likely to imitate behaviour if:
- The model achieves a positive, desired outcome from the behaviour,
- The model is liked or respected by the observer,
- The model is considered attractive or powerful by the observer, and,
- The observer sees similarities between themselves and the model.
Research on the intergenerational transference of risk taking and antisocial behaviours from parents to children supports social learning theory. There is considerable evidence indicating that parents of children who use substances, are violent, abuse alcohol or smoke also display similar behaviours (Corvo and Carpenter, 2000, White et al., 2000).
Similar findings have also been found with relation to driving styles. Recent research from Israel has found significant correlations between parents' driving styles (particularly anxious and aggressive styles) and those of their children a year after licensure (Miller and Taubman – Ben-Ari, 2010). The correlations were weak though, which the authors suggest may be due to imperfect transference of driving styles. It is important to note that this study also found that relatively safe 'careful' driving styles were not transferred to children, suggesting that role modelling may help to prevent the development of unsafe driving rather than acting to promote safe driving styles. Miller and Taubman – Ben-Ari also found that gender played a role in the transference of driving styles. Their findings support other studies that have found that men's driving styles are influenced most by fathers and women are influenced by both parents.
In 2014, 21% of drivers killed were aged between 18 and 25 years, however, this age group represents only around 14% of Victorian licence holders. This is the lowest proportion of young drivers killed since 1987.
Of the 24 young drivers killed in 2014:
- 75% were males
- 71% were killed on country roads
- 63% were killed in single vehicle crashes
- 75% were involved in crashes that occurred during high alcohol times
- 67% of deaths occurred on 100km/h signposted roads
Note: High alcohol times are those times of the day and week when casualty crashes are ten times more likely to involve alcohol than casualty crashes at other times.
WOMAN: Kids can pick up all
sorts of behaviours in the car -
good ones and bad.
So today the bad behaviours
that we're looking at
are sort of mobile phone use
and road rage.
Parents are forgetting
to be parents
when they jump behind the wheel.
They sort of...they become drivers
rather than parents.
MAN: Doing something that's
so heavily performance-based
is always a challenge
Especially using, you know,
a child actor,
which we were lucky to find
such a great little actor.
We went through a lot of casting
before we found Zane,
and it's tough with a kid that age,
even just to get him
to act serious.
LUKE: We're looking at
a kid strapped into a car
and seeing all the sorts
of things, good and bad behaviours,
that their parents are doing.
The tone was sort of different
to what they've done in the past.
It was more about making sure
parents don't tune out.
There is a certain tipping point
where I think a parent can go,
"Oh, that's not me,"
or "I would never do that,"
or "I can't relate
to that person in the car,"
so, yeah, we had to make it
so that it's impactful
but not to the point where you go,
"Oh, that's a ridiculous situation
and I would never act like that."