1. Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge
The Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge (FFT) (Vlaamse Stichting Verkeerskunde) aims at making people smarter on the subjects of sustainable mobility, road safety, public transport and mobility management. In this regard, road safety education and mobility are very important. By making young people aware of choosing the right modes of transport and behaving correctly on the road today, the foundations can be laid for the more sustainable development of mobility in the future. This is why the FFT has developed a ‘Vertical Learning Line’, an ongoing training and education programme for people aged 0 to 100. The FFT runs a number of projects aimed at different age groups. In 2008, the FFT developed a new project: Driving Licence at School. This project prepares youngsters from the age of 17 to sit their theory driving test at school.
A couple of years ago, the FFT conducted a survey in all secondary schools. The main result of this survey was that too little attention was given to traffic safety in secondary schools. Primary schools carried out behaviour in traffic exercises quite well, but secondary schools appeared to have different focuses. Which is unfortunate, because it is these very youngsters who become increasingly involved in traffic-related situations, first as a pedestrian, then as a cyclist and motorcyclist, and finally as a car driver? However, car accidents are the main cause of death among youngsters between 15 and 24 years of age. At the same time, poor knowledge of traffic regulations is a significant cause of accidents. Hence the survey showed that there was a clear need for an attractive training programme for secondary schools.
This is how the FFT came to Driving Licence at School. In a nutshell:
- The project provides theory classes (8 hours) given by professional driving instructors.
- The schools can obtain funding (10 euro per student) to buy educational material such as training manuals and the Highway Code.
- The examination centre comes to the school with a server and laptops and organises the theory exam at school.
Everything is funded by the Flemish government. Until now, youngsters took various approaches to gaining their theory driving licence: some studied in manuals, others at websites, while others still did not study at all. Thanks to Driving Licence at School every 17-year-old receives the same professional preparation at school. In addition to traffic regulations, the project also teaches young people about sustainable mobility. The project also helps secondary schools to reach the final attainment level in traffic education.
3. Practical organisation
Driving Licence at School is organised by the FFT and a range of partners, such as driving instructors, examination centres and secondary schools. Schools are free to participate or not. The process is as follows: Each school is given personalised and protected access to the Driving Licence at School website. The school contacts a driving school to organise the lessons and sets a date for the exam with an official examination centre. After the theory test has been completed, a personal file is filled in with names of the students, dates, scores, etc. When the file is completed and the website gives the ‘green light’, the FFT pays the school.
In 2007-2008, the FFT organised Driving Licence at School in 25 schools as a pilot project. In 2008-2009, Driving Licence at School was offered to all secondary schools in Flanders. 760 schools (95% of all schools) took part; more than 43, 000 youngsters were given the opportunity to sit their theory test at school. When students were asked to give their opinion about what they thought of these course