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Why should road safety be a mandatory subject taught in the schools?

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19/11/2015

Because learning good road safety habits at an early age is vital in order to create awareness and prevent accidents now and in the future. In Spanish schools, children gain knowledge of this subject in accordance with the reforms of the LOE and LOMCE. The subject is approached in a cross-disciplinary manner, meaning through other subjects or through other programs such as "Prevention and transportation education in the classroom" from the Fundación MAPFRE. As a result of this effort in the classrooms, since 2013 traffic accidents have ceased to be the number one external cause of child mortality.

A major step has been taken in our country to require Road Safety to be taught as a mandatory subject: Last May, Congress approved a non-legislative resolution encouraging the Government to include Road Safety Education in Elementary and Secondary school programs as a graded subject. Whatever government is installed in the next elections will be in charge of implementing the subject in classrooms.

All of the political parties agreed that Road Safety as a mandatory subject would help to develop prevention-oriented attitudes and gain an in-depth understanding of the importance of respecting basic rules as pedestrians and drivers. Road safety education in the classroom teaches correct behavior in a variety of traffic situations and helps children internalize the idea that responsibility on the road or highway saves lives. The teaching of this subject is a key factor in combating accident rates.

At the European level, voluntary programs exist in Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Only seven countries have implemented road safety education as a mandatory school subject: Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, and Latvia, based on a study by the International Automobile Federation (IAF). Each country, of course, teaches it in a different way. For example, the Italian approach focuses on traffic rules, the environment, and health. In Germany, children receive two years of instruction in how to safely ride a bicycle. In Denmark, responsible attitudes are taught from childhood, a fact that has contributed to its being one of the countries with the lowest traffic accident rates.

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