Study conducted as backdrop to launch of new
road safety initiative aimed at young children
DUBLIN, IRELAND 25 October 2007 - Road safety is a subject best taught within the family according to a survey carried out amongst parents by research specialist Millward Brown IMS on behalf of Chevron, owner of the Texaco brand.
From interviews conducted with over 500 parents with children aged 11 years and under, some 97% of respondents agreed it was their job to teach their children about road safety. This outcome was consistent across all demographic groups save for younger parents in the 17-24 years age segment who felt that primary responsibility for road safety education should rest with Government.
The study was commissioned for the Texaco brand to coincide with the launch of a road safety initiative aimed at young children which is now being introduced through Texaco-branded service stations in Ireland. Other key points to emerge from the research are:
- Almost 90% of parents feel it is their responsibility to ensure that their child’s car seating complies with legislation. Despite this, half of all parents interviewed admitted to having driven or been in a car in which the child was not restrained.
- Nearly 90% of parents have a booster seat or child restraint system in their vehicle – those with children under 3 years being the most likely group to have a booster seat or other form of child restraint while those with older children being less likely.
- Worryingly, one in five parents (20%), particularly younger fathers, lack awareness of recent legislation regarding the use of booster seats.
- A majority of respondents (80%) believe it is safer to restrain children in the back of the car rather than in the front while some 66% believe that booster seats or other forms of restraint should be based on a child’s weight and height. Surprisingly, only 25% said it was important to get the advice of a reputable dealer when purchasing such equipment.
- A belief evident amongst parents over 45 years is that drivers who allow their attention to be diverted away from the road and onto a child in the vehicle are a primary contributor to collisions. Breaking the speed limit and bad driving habits were also heavily criticised as contributors to accidents.
- The majority of those interviewed were aware of a collision that involved a child in their local area. Interestingly this was least common among Dublin residents, perhaps due to better roads, lighting and more footpaths.
- Only 6% of parents had knowledge of local cycle training course – a figure that was lowest among Leinster residents (outside Dublin) and parents aged 25-34. Parents with children over the age of 10 were most aware of such courses.
- Nearly half of all respondents have children who cycle without a bell or helmet. This is most common amongst children aged seven or more and older parents. When this data was recalculated based only on parents whose children have a bicycle, the results were worryingly high with over half of parents allowing their child to cycle without a bell or helmet.
- Parents also admitted to not always setting the best example in observing basic road safety practices. Half of those interviewed admitted to attempting to cross the road without waiting for a green man and 40% said they jaywalk. Fathers are worse when it comes to dangerous pedestrian habits.
The initiative being undertaken by the Texaco brand is one aimed at helping parents to teach road safety to their young children. Targeted at boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 10, the idea revolves around a series of five booklets, each one of which focuses on an aspect of road safety that is most important to children. Subjects covered include: understanding road signs, using pedestrian crossings, wearing reflective clothing, buckling-up in motor vehicles and riding bicycles with lights, bells and helmets.
Knowing that it is hard to capture a child’s attention, the Texaco branded network has drawn on its experience in the field of children’s art to communicate the road safety story. In words and drawings, each message is revealed through the adventures of an imaginary character called ‘Oscar’, a young boy described as having an active imagination.
Written and illustrated in an entertaining, comic-book style, each Oscar storyline carries a road safety message which children can apply in their own lives. Launched here with the approval of the Road Safety Authority, the scheme has already been successful in the UK where some 1.7 million copies were distributed.
Timed to coincide with the arrival of winter time, when children are most vulnerable due to the shorter daylight hours, the project will see some 500,000 books being distributed free of charge to customers through participating Texaco service stations. Luminous stickers that reflect the safety storyline within each booklet are also available free of charge for placement on children’s coats and school bags.
The first book in the series entitled ‘Oscar and the Hairy Scary Tarantula’s Tentacle’ is now available. The additional four books will be released over the coming weeks.
A website www.oscarsroom.ie has also been launched to offer parents and children the opportunity to interact further with Oscar, learn all about his peculiar imagination and find out how to be road safety aware.
Commenting, Chevron Ireland Country Chairman Enda Riney said, “To promote Oscar and the launch of our campaign, we commissioned research which showed that road safety is a subject best taught in the home. From interviews conducted amongst a representative sample of over 500 parents with children aged 11 years and under, some 97% of those we spoke to agreed it was the job of parents to teach their children about road safety. We hope that our Oscar series will be of benefit to parents in this work”.
Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. We have approximately 58,000 employees, and our subsidiaries conduct business in more than 180 countries. We operate across the entire energy spectrum — producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas; refining, marketing and distributing fuels and other energy products and services; manufacturing and selling petrochemical products; generating power; and developing and commercializing the energy resources of the future, including biofuels and other renewables. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.
Notes to editors
1) There are approximately 230 Texaco-branded service stations in Ireland and more than 1,300 across Europe. Chevron (Ireland) Limited also provides aviation refueling services at Dublin and Shannon Airports, has an extensive commercial and industrial fuels business and holds an equity stake in four fuel storage facilities in the Republic of Ireland. For more information, visit www.texaco.ie
2) For further information on this award, contact Don Hall, Hall PR on 01 660 9377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Chevron (Ireland) Ltd, contact Daniel Schraibman on 0044 207 719 4459 or email email@example.com