THE world’s first adverts which urge drivers to set a good example behind the wheel so their children don’t become the road hogs of the future was launched in Glasgow today by transport minister Keith Brown.
The Scottish Government’s Road Safety Scotland organisation, which devised the campaign, said youngsters’ driving habits when they grew up were influenced by their parents’ behaviour in cars.
The adverts, on TV, radio, in the cinema and online, show various children singing a version of the “The Wheels on the Bus” song, but with increasingly disturbing words and actions as they repeat what they have heard their parents say while driving, such as ‘Get off the road’.
It said kids seeing their mums and dads driving safely could help save lives in the future.
Road Safety Scotland assistant director Mairi Blair 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 Tayside Police sergeant, 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.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “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.
“It is the first campaign in the world to raise awareness of the profound influence parents have on future road users.”
Mr Brown said one 17 to 20-year-old driver was killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads every week.