A new book has been unveiled as part of a nationwide road safety initiative encouraging parents to adopt more positive behaviours behind the wheel when driving with children.
Ziggy’s Sports Day, commissioned by The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland), will be distributed through all Primary 1 classrooms throughout Renfrewshire and addresses parental behaviour in the car and the impact this can have on a child.
Research shows youngsters can adopt poor driving habits long before getting behind the wheel based on what they see others doing, the book aims to help parents and carers realise how their children can be influenced by their actions in the car.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “Children begin picking up on driving behaviours from a young age, often mirroring what others say and do, so it’s vital that we teach positive road safety behaviours at this early stage.
“Children who regularly witness bad driving habits such as anger, frustration or texting behind the wheel, may pick up these habits and carry them into adulthood as they begin to learn to drive themselves.
“As young drivers continue to be over-represented in Scottish road casualty statistics, it’s as important as ever to be talking to parents and children about this in order to shape the habits of our future generation of drivers.”
Ziggy’s Sports Day focuses on three main areas – staying calm behind the wheel, being courteous to other drivers, and making the car a phone-free zone, and pupils will be encouraged to take the book home to read with their parents or carers.
Written by children’s author Lynda Kennedy and illustrated by Lynn Taylor, the story features a character called Ziggy who has recently landed on Earth and needs help navigating the planet’s road systems. This is the latest addition to the existing Ziggy road safety resource.
Michael McDonnell, Director of Road Safety Scotland, said: “Go Safe with Ziggy is a fun and interactive platform we have developed which exposes children to road safety skills in the classroom and at home from a young age.
“It is widely recognised amongst behavioural psychologists that early experiences shape children’s future behaviour. This is why we need to ensure road safety skills are taught from a young age, and it’s important for parents to play a role in moulding their children’s attitude to using our roads.”