1.1. Project task: “Learning that affects you!”
The project task of the CLOSE TO project is to develop an innovative method that makes sustainable emotional learning in driving schools possible and thus to literally offer “learning that affects you.”
Which preventative measures can reach young beginner drivers in order to influence the high number of traffic accidents for this age group across Europe? Emotional learning is considered to be especially long-lasting learning. Can a positive influence on the risk behaviour of young drivers be attained by the creation of an immediate shock in the course of their driving education?
The consortium of the CLOSE TO project, made up of 5 European countries, poses itself these questions. Within the scope of 2 years of work, its implementation was successfully tried out in driving schools of all the partner countries, in which young beginner drivers were confronted with experiences of peers, who have
already experienced an accident, most of them as offenders, although some of them as victims. These visits to driving schools were companied three times by a questionnaire that should provide information on the acceptance and impact of this approach. There were moving encounters and discussions during the visits to the driving schools in all the partner countries. Despite different prerequisites for its implementation and conditions in the partner countries, the most gratifying result of the assessment of the available questionnaires is that a change in attitude, especially in young drivers, who are more willing to take risks, could be achieved.
“Accidents happen, but certainly not to me!” This slogan of the project turned out to be a particularly interesting point of discussion. Firm beliefs changed, most of them quickly, after the young learner drivers heard the story of an accident “up close” from someone who had thought the same way up until a short while ago.
The CLOSE TO consortium hopes to be able to continue with the successfully tested method of approach and as a reasonable supplement to the driving education system of the participating countries.
The original idea for it came from the experiences of peer group education, which produced very good results within the scope of drugs and AIDS prevention. It observes the principle “from equal to equal”, which means that peers tell of their own experiences and point out the dangers, for example, of drugs and alcohol to their “peers” in a way suited for their age and therefore in a more familiar form.
This communication of prevention messages by peers for peers is adopted because it is authentic and isn’t some kind of moralising lecture by adults. Can this approach also be carried over to road safety work?
What fundamental insights are there in the research field of “peer-education”? What possibilities arose from this project for the present project?
The project teams in the participating partner countries set themselves two tasks;
– on the one hand, to develop a range of methods that can be implemented in driving schools and
– on the other hand, to obtain a confirmation of the method in the sense of an effect on beginner drivers, especially on the hazardous drivers