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Welcome to the ninth CADROSA newsletter, and the second CADROSA newsletter for 2018.
The year 2018 is certainly flying by, with much activity in the realm of adolescent road safety not just in the Sunshine Coast here in sunny Queensland, but across Australia and around the world. Today we are delighted to introduce CADROSA member Mr Steve Cantwell, in addition to highlighting recent research and engagement activities. One of these activities is the recent Australian Road Safety Awards presented by Caltex. On Wednesday 21 March, Blue Datto Foundation Limited was awarded two prizes:
  • Community Program Award, and
  • Outstanding Achievement Award

Left – Erin Vassallo; Middle – Mark Beretta; Right – Colleen Vassallo

The Blue Datto Foundation is a NSW based registered charity that aims to protect the lives of young Australians through innovative road safety education. Blue Datto’s mission is to change the culture of young drivers by altering attitudes and behaviours.

Blue Datto was established by the Vassallo family following the death of 17-year-old Philip Vassallo in a crash in which both drivers were red ‘P’ platers. Phil, ‘the kid in the Blue Datto’, was a much-loved teenager who brought happiness to everyone who knew him.

Blue Datto established its flagship education program, ‘Keeping Safe™’ in Western Sydney and the Hawkesbury, however has now expanded to offer more programs across Sydney and in regional areas including the Central Coast, Central West, Wagga Wagga and Byron Bay. Blue Datto hopes to eventually make Keeping Safe available to every school in NSW. Blue Datto is fortunate to have the support of the NSW Police Association and NSW Fire and Rescue. (

I am delighted to serve as a member of the Blue Datto Advisory Board.

Today I would also like to share some more amazing news: On Friday 23 March Rotary Caloundra hosted the 10 year celebration of the RYDA program on the Sunshine Coast. I was delighted to be invited to present the Keynote Address at this event, sharing my reflections on the RYDA program specifically, and on road safety more generally (Note the shark slippers I am wearing: While many people are galeophobes, rarely do people understand that using the road as a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, or driver/passenger of a motor vehicle is a much greater risk to their health and wellbeing, compared to swimming in an ocean, the natural habitat of sharks).
Starting with just one school and one senior class, 2019 will see RYDA reach its 10,000th teen here on the Sunshine Coast. As you will see in the newsletter, RYDA is road safety education program for senior secondary school students. I and the ARRU team attend a variety of RYDA events, and I particularly relish the opportunity to provide the opening and closing speeches. This is the time to engage with the students, and the teachers! Education, enforcement, and engineering-based interventions will not achieve their best possible outcome if our target – adolescents – are not engaged!
Dr Bridie and RYDA Caloundra Coordinator Mr Neville Woodforth (left), Mr Stuart Gardner, Department of Transport and Main Roads (one of the funders of the RYDA activities) (centre), and Mr Peter Hannah, Coastwide Driving School (one of the driving instructors demonstrating vehicle safety and stopping distances) (right).    

Kind regards

Bridie, Founder and Consortium Leader
High Risk Young Driver (HYRD) Project

What if we could predict who was going to be at risk on the road as a young driver, even before they gained a driver's licence? What if we could reduce their future risk by intervening before they are at risk on the road?

This is exactly what we are asking in a multi-year Sunshine Coast-focused road safety project, in which the Adolescent Risk Research Unit,, Queensland Police, Transport and Main Roads, and the Sunshine Coast Council are collaborators. An overview of the project was presented at the 2018 Transportation Research Board annual conference in Washington DC (Scott-Parker et al., 2018).

The first step was a literature review around what we known about problem adolescent behaviours, such as juvenile delinquency and problematic driving behaviour. The second step was focus groups with ‘subject matter experts’ who are on the coalface with problematic adolescents, including teachers, police, and driving instructors. The goal of these two steps was to inform the development of a model – comprising personal characteristics and behavioural predictors – which could indicate that the adolescent will be at risk on the road in the future. The fourth step tested this model against the police records of road crashes, road offences, and non-road related offences such as graffiti and break and enter for youth aged 17-24 years, from the age of 14 years (note that in Queensland you cannot obtain a driver’s licence until age 16 years). While there were limits with the breadth of data collected and able to be shared by police, such as limited personal characteristic information, the testing against 2,973 individuals with police records, currently living on the Sunshine Coast, revealed four groups of problematic road users:
  1. Non-injury car crashers: 21.4% of the sample, these drivers were more likely to be female, older at first offence, with no driving-, licence-, registration-, or substance-related offences.
  2. Injury car crashers: 23.8% of the sample, these drivers were more likely to be female, older at first offence, with few driving-, licence-, registration-, and substance-related offences.
  3. Substance users: 14.7% of the sample, these drivers were more likely to be male, older at first offence, with few driving- and licence-related offences, and most of the substance-related offences (drugs and alcohol) and no crashes.
  4. High risk young drivers: these drivers were more likely to be male, younger at first offence, account for all fatal and hit-and-run crashes, some injury and non-injury crashes, and many driving-, licence-, registration, and substance-related offences.
We are currently working together to secure more funding so that a larger scale version of the project can be run, so that we can compare and contrast experiences in a large city region and a large rural region. We note that a systems approach (Scott-Parker et al., 2015, 2016) means that intervention should be multi-faceted and coordinated, with plans to develop and test interventions within the family, the school and within sporting groups, to name a few important stakeholders. Finally, a number of manuscripts regarding this innovative project are currently under peer review, and as soon as these findings are published we can share them in the CADROSA newsletter.

Scott-Parker, B., Stokes, L. Gardner, S., Cawkwell, M., Wilson, M., Panaho, S., & Klumpp, S. (2018). Working together to develop interventions for young drivers, pre-crash, pre-offence, and pre-licence: A multi-agency collaboration. 97th Transportation Research Board annual conference. January 2018.
Scott-Parker, B., Goode, N., & Salmon, P. (2015). The driver, the road, the rules.....and the rest? A systems-based approach to young driver road safety. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 74, 297-305.
Scott-Parker, B., Goode, N., Salmon, P., Senserrick, T. (2016). Knowing me knowing you: key players and their interactions within the young driver road safety system. Safety Science, 88, 88-96.

Member Profile
Name:  Steve Cantwell

Position: Doctoral Researcher, University of Waikato, New Zealand

For further information visit:
University of Waikato
Hillcrest, Hamilton,


Image source:
Steve Cantwell is a doctoral researcher at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has a BSocSci(Hon) in Cognitive Science (emphasis on cognitive and physiological psychology), and an MSocSci(Hon) (investigating the speed adaptation of young novice drivers to common New Zealand road environments, for which he received the John Kirby Road Safety Award in 2012). His doctorate focuses on the role of hazard detection, situation awareness, and cognition in adolescent drivers using video traffic scenarios and eye-tracking technology. His research explores hazard detection, and the effectiveness of commentary training by looking at eye scanning and its ability to improve hazard detection and speeds novices choose to drive. He believes commentary training is a useful tool that can be used by parents and instructors to develop situation awareness, improving the way novice drivers’ search for hazards, and then using strategies to deal with them. He believes that commentary driving could potentially reduce the number of preventable crashes by changing the way young drivers ‘read the road’ and respond to different traffic situations.

Why did you become a member of CADROSA?
I was welcomed to join CADROSA during a recent visit to the University of the Sunshine Coast, Thompson Institute. While in Queensland, I was privileged to spend some time with Dr. Bridie and the other members of the research team there, and was impressed by the role that CADROSA has played in making significant changes to road safety, especially in relation to young driver safety. I have always held to the philosophy that research should be applied and made practical when possible, and personally enjoy making knowledge accessible to a public audience in a meaningful way - an honour I had when while visiting the Sunshine Coast speaking to parents, police, and community leaders. One of the most important areas where research needs to be placed into the hands of the public is related to driver safety. It is sad to know that more young people in the developed world are lost to vehicle crashes than drugs, alcohol, disease, and violence combined. To me, this is one of the great tragedies overlooked by the Press at large, especially considering that so many crashes are completely avoidable if simple and effective measures were taken in education, policy, and enforcement. I believe CADROSA plays an important role in disseminating new and exciting research findings into the public sphere. I look forward to being able to help towards making a difference through working with researchers around the world, and handing this knowledge to those who are in positions to make a real change.
Something others may not know about you?
As a teenager I wanted to be a chemical engineer and I loved theories in chemistry and biology. After a year of chemistry labs and precipitating compounds I was no longer passionate. It was good fortune that one of the engineering professors could see this, and suggested that I change direction of study toward Cognitive Science. I took his advice and am very grateful to this day for his recommendation. Over time decision-making and the role of emotion became my main interests, as did how the adolescent brain changes as it matures into adulthood. As an adult looking back, I realize that as an adolescent my brain interpreted the world significantly differently. Though making good career choices is important, it was not the life or death decision my adolescent brain perceived it to be – and it was with the thoughtful wisdom of my engineering professor that I found the right direction to take in studying psychology. I believe that to effectively educate, and educate adolescents to make good decisions and avoid dangerous risk taking, we need adolescent minds to help us create tools as well as the active engagement of experienced educators and mentors. We live in a very different time to when I was a teenager, with social media and a myriad of often-conflicting sources influencing the adolescent mind. CADROSA allows us to broaden our reach, creating a network that transcends international boundaries, making collaboration with researchers more efficient, and our engagement with younger people more effective.

Commentary Training: A Guide for Parents and Instructors
Authored by Steve Cantwell, Doctoral Researcher, University of Waikato
Link to article highlighting Steve's research (p. 8):

Research is beginning to suggest that road commentary is a simple training method that you can use to improve the way young drivers scan the road and detect hazards. Road commentary involves verbally identifying the on-road hazards that drivers see (i.e. approaching pedestrian crossing), and how they might possibly respond to those hazards (i.e. slowing down).
Having an experienced driver list the hazards they perceive is important, as it provides a reference for where young drivers should be paying attention, as well as possible ways of dealing with those hazards. Research has shown that listening to ‘expert’ commentary draws a novice driver's visual and mental awareness (attention) to that hazard, so they keep on subject and avoid unnecessary distractions.
It might be helpful to practice as an adult before beginning training by practising as you are driving, as a lot of your hazard perception skills may be subconscious (automatic), and it takes time to learn to verbalise what you are seeing.
You do not have to continually provide running dialogue about everything you perceive, you can simply mention the hazards you see and find your own pace. You might like to start with just identifying hazards, and then once this skill seems to be developing, move onto how you might respond to those hazards. Remember to keep focused and avoid mentioning unnecessary distractions. Research has shown that commentary can also shorten the time it takes to detect hazards.
I recommend that parents or instructors provide an example of some of the hazards they see, and then ask their learner driver to try and identify some similar hazards as well. This can create situations where novice and experienced drivers can exchange information about what hazards they are seeing, and how they might respond to them, and can be quite a fun game when you are teaching a young person to drive.
The important thing to be aware of is that road commentary uses some of the mental resources that are needed for driving, so it is best for the passenger to perform the road commentary if they are a novice or inexperienced driver as many of their driving skills still require conscious mental effort. You might want to start off in a safer area to drive, and gradually move to more complex situations.

In February Dr Bridie and her team at the Adolescent Risk Research Unit attended the RYDA program in Caloundra, here on the Sunshine Coast. RYDA is a one day, six session road safety education program conducted at an out-of-school venue for senior secondary school students across Australia and New Zealand. Rotary Clubs coordinate, obtain funding, and deliver the programs with Road Safety Education Limited as the program provider. The RYDA program compliments and reinforces government and community road safety efforts and plays a critical role in filling the gaps in road safety education for students. The program supports the graduated licensing scheme and focuses on the fatal five road safety issues of speeding, drink/drug driving, fatigue, seatbelts and distractions.
Dr Bridie and Mr Neville Woodforth, RYDA Caloundra Coordinator
In April Dr Bridie will be attending the 28th Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) International Conference in Brisbane.

In May Dr Bridie will again travel to Tongji University in Shanghai for the 6th International Symposium on Transportation Safety.

In June Dr Bridie will travel to Montreal for the International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP) conference.

In September the Adolescent Risk Research Unit will host our annual free community seminar.

In October Dr Bridie will be attending the Australasian Road Safety Conference ARSC2018 in Sydney.

In November Dr Bridie will be speaking at the annual Driver Trainers Conference here in Queensland. Dr Bridie will also be attending the Safety 2018 World Conference in Bangkok.
During her travels, Dr Bridie is very pleased to meet with CADROSA members and others interested in improving road safety not only for our adolescents, but also for our children and for our experienced road users. If you would like to arrange a meeting during any of these visits, please email
Publication Update
Early in 2017, Dr Bridie was interviewed by the publication, Impact. The article titled, "The sunny side of road safety", was published in November 2017. Here is the abstract, as it appears in Impact

Too many adolescents die or are terribly injured on the roads, and the effects can be devastating. The financial costs are enormous, and the social and emotional impacts are even bigger. The sad truth is, in many of these instances, road crashes are largely preventable. For many community members around the world, CADROSA has provided their first opportunity to rally together as one global community to improve adolescent road safety in every community. Let's keep our adolescents safe as they use our roads. 

In 2017, the paper "Predicting future traffic offenders by pre-drivers' attitudes towards risky driving", co-authored by some of our CADROSA members from Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania (Justina Slavinskiene, Assoc. Prof. Kristina Zardeckaite-Matulaitiene, Prof. Aukse Endriulaitiene, Assoc. Prof. Laura Seibokaite, and Assist. Prof. Rasa Marksaityte), was published in The European proceedings of social & behavioural sciences EpSBS: 3d icH&Hpsy international conference on health and health psychology. Here is the abstract as it appears in Future Academy:

Worldwide statistics indicate that novice drivers are still one of the riskiest drivers’ groups as they highly contribute to road accidents and traffic rules violations. Thus, the psychological variables that allow predicting whether novice drivers will violate traffic rules are important in risky driving research. The aim of this study is to find out if pre-drivers' attitudes towards risky driving measured before obtaining driving license could predict future traffic offences during the first year of independent driving. The research method was a longitudinal study, based on self-reported web-based questionnaire and later records by police. The Scale of Risk-Taking Attitudes to Driving (Ulleberg, Rundmo, 2002) was used to measure six different attitudes towards risky driving. Demographic data and information about committed traffic rules violations during the first year of independent driving were obtained from police records. 598 pre-drivers (262 males, 336 females), averagely aged at 23.63, participated in the study. Results showed that all types of pre-drivers' attitudes towards risky driving were distributed differently, with the attitude towards showing off driving skills as the highest scores and attitudes towards drunk driving and traffic rules violations as the lowest scores. It was found that male and younger pre-drivers possess some riskier attitudes towards driving than female and older pre-drivers. None of six different attitudes towards risky driving measured before obtaining driving license were significant in predicting traffic offences during the first independent driving year.
CADROSA has commissioned a graphic designer to create an exhibition banner to promote CADROSA. The template is freely accessible for any CADROSA members to use. Click on the below link to download the file for printing:


Frequently we need to access road safety images, and we may not have something suitable readily available. The CADROSA webpage features a section in which images are shared, and categorised as, driver-specific, passenger-specific, pedestrian-specific, cyclist-specific, and powered two-wheeler-specific images.  Please forward any images you may wish to share as jpeg files to These images will be updated over the next month with photographs from the US, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Australia.
Here is an example:

We ask that the source of the images be acknowledged by anyone who uses the images.

Pedestrian walkway, Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Natalie Watson-Brown,
We welcome feedback on the newsletter. If you would like to feature any research, publications, or engagement activities, whether they were undertaken as part of a CADROSA activity or not, feel free to contact us at We would love to hear from you.
Submission Deadline
The CADROSA newsletters will be issued every two months (September, November, January, March, May, July).  If you would like to submit content for the next newsletter please forward to

Submissions of content are to be received by the end of the preceding month so that it can be incorporated within the next newsletter.

Newsletters will be archived on the CADROSA website.
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