'Dream car' conversation could be a life saver

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'Dream car' conversation could be a life saver

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Published on 18 June 2015

Having a serious conversation with teenagers about their “dream car” could end up saving their lives, according to University of the Sunshine Coast road safety researcher Dr Bridie Scott-Parker.

Dr Scott-Parker – who is holding a free public seminar on Wednesday 1 July called ‘Dangerous Driving and Wonky Walking: Improving Teen Road Safety’ – is urging parents to highlight the safety features of vehicles to their teens long before they buy their first cars.

“My research has shown that when Year 11 students are asked to describe their ‘dream car’ they almost always mention fancy paintwork or mag wheels or the stereo system but they rarely mention whether it has ABS brakes or curtain airbags,” she said.

“It comes back to mum and dad having a conversation with them about what is a safe car. We want them purchasing a car based on its safety features rather than on whether it is red, has mag wheels, or a loud stereo.

“We want teens to buy cars that can keep them out of crashes or keep them safe if they are involved in crashes. If they are in a safe car, it can really make the difference between life and death.”

Dr Scott-Parker, who is a Research Fellow supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, will be one of four speakers at the public seminar at USC’s Sippy Downs campus from 9am to noon.

The seminar is aimed at anyone interested in adolescent safety, including parents, teachers, academics and policy makers and is also open to teens.

The other presentations will be:

  • ‘What every parent needs to know about supervising a new teen driver’ by Arthur Goodwin of the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center;
  • ‘Parents have an important role in helping provisional drivers comply with road rules’, by Dr Lyndel Bates of Griffith University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; and
  • ‘How device-carrying teens are changing the study of pedestrian safety’, by Seth LaJeunesse of the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center.

Registrations for the seminar can be made online. For more details phone 5456 5595 or email FABResearchEvents@usc.edu.au

— Terry Walsh

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