Ground-breaking road safety campaign

The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland) unveiled a new road safety campaign today (Wednesday 24 July) which focuses on the influence parents’ driving can have on their children’s safety when they become drivers themselves.

In a first of its kind anywhere in the world, the campaign is based on the premise that every time parents get behind the wheel with their children in the car, they’re giving them a lesson which could save their lives in the future.

The campaign draws on Early Years and Road Safety research which demonstrate that children’s future prospects are influenced to a large extent by their parents' and carers’ behaviour from a very young age[1]. This extends to all areas of life, including driving. Parents are already very aware that they are role models to their children, but this does not always include their vital role in road safety.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “This campaign takes a ground-breaking approach to road safety and provides support and information for parents and carers to help them set a good driving example for children - even from a very young age. It is the first campaign in the world to raise awareness of the profound influence parents have on future road users.

“Every week, a car driver aged between 17 and 20 is killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads*. While the numbers of road casualties in Scotland are at their lowest ever level there is still simply no room for complacency. One death on Scotland’s roads is one too many and our focus continues to be on reducing the numbers down further.

“It is vital that this issue is addressed from a young age, to give our children the best possible start when they come to drive themselves. Potentially, the type of driver a child will become is being influenced every time he/she gets into the car with parents or carers.”

In pre-campaign research, conducted by YouGov, 36% of those surveyed felt children only start to take notice and pay attention to driving between the age of 9 to16[2] - a number of research sources show this to be much younger[3].

The social marketing campaign includes television, cinema, radio and online advertising and social media and PR. The campaign is being further supported by a wide range of partners across, amongst others, education, road safety, retail and automotive sectors. A roadshow will also tour the country throughout August to engage directly with parents and offer additional information and advice.

Mairi Blair, Assistant Director at Road Safety Scotland, said: “The positive examples we constantly aim to set for our children can sometimes be forgotten when we’re driving. Most people think they’re a good driver, but in a rushed or more stressful situation, on the school run for example, these pressures can sometimes mean people act in ways they usually wouldn’t.

"We hope this campaign will emphasise the link between what children see from their vantage point in the back seat of the car from their parents and other role models now, and how they’ll be as drivers themselves in the future. If parents are aware of this link, we hope they’ll be safer drivers now so their kids will be too.”

Dr Bill Carcary, a psychologist and former Sergeant at Tayside Police, said: “Children in their early developmental years simply soak up all that is in their immediate environment. ‘Significant Others’, such as parents and those close to their care, are hugely influential and children tend to share the same beliefs and attitudes of their significant others, whether negative or positive, without scrutiny.

“Children simply mimic to become socially acceptable. Put simply, they can be taught to do as you say, but they will nearly always do as you do, and this applies to all areas of life, including driving behaviours and road safety.”

To get advice and learn more about how we influence our children’s future driving, visit

Notes to editors

  • Notes to editors:
  • The Kids in the Car campaign will run from 24 July to the end of August 2013 on TV, radio, in cinema, through trolley adverts, field marketing, partnerships marketing, PR, social media and online
  • Road Safety Scotland is part of Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Transport Agency.) . Its remit is to develop and co-ordinate road safety education approaches, and publicity initiatives and campaigns across the country. Road Safety Scotland works closely with many stakeholders to ensure a co-ordinated approach to road safety in Scotland. You can view Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020 by visiting
  • Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020 sets a target to reduce the number of people killed on Scotland’s roads by 40% by 2020. The Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2012 show that the number of fatalities in 2012 was 42% below the 2004-8 baseline average level
  • Find out more about the Kids in the Car campaign at or Road Safety Scotland’s Facebook page

*STATS 19 Road Accident Dataset

Published 5 Aug 2013