School-based interventions can help students, parents, teachers, and administrators prevent motor vehicle injuries by providing programs, policies, and environments that support healthy lifestyles (e.g., driver’s education classes, health education classes, and enforcement of “zero tolerance” laws). Schools are also useful resources for increasing education and resources in the broader community (e.g., educating parents, providing a place for education of other drivers in the community).
Previous work in school-based settings has found:
- Many schools communicate regularly with students, teachers, and parents (e.g., parent newsletters, Channel One programming, student newspapers, daily announcements), which can easily be used to encourage motor vehicle safety.
- Schools may be well-suited for motor vehicle injury education programs because they assess and store information on individuals (e.g., students, employees) and communication systems for these individuals are already in place. These settings make it easy to distribute individually tailored information to participants.
- School-based interventions can often be a more appropriate learning environment for children and adolescents than a medical setting.
- Motor vehicle injury education sessions implemented in schools have the capacity to reach a population that might not otherwise have access to clinical services.
- School children represent a captive audience that is eager to learn new ideas. Providing education in schools during the developmental years will reach students when they are beginning to make their own lifestyle choices.
- Success and ownership are maintained when schools develop their own implementation plan, work out problems, have broad involvement among teachers and staff and other staff, and reach their own solutions.
- Teachers can be effectively used in rural health education campaigns to implement sound health practices among children. Coordinated efforts need to be made between school personnel and health educators.
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