This project partners with Canadian youth to understand attitudes and perceptions that affect safe driving behaviours in young drivers and then develops more effective ways to address the issue of road fatalities and injuries among youth.

Reaching young people is important as road crashes are the third-leading cause of death among young people in Canada. Youth and young adults are also killed in crashes at a higher rate than any other age group under 75 years old. With the support of Transport Canada and Desjardins, we are taking a new approach to our road safety programs targeted to young drivers.

Why it’s challenging to reach young drivers

  • They’re highly influenced by their peer group while still looking to their parents as role models.
  • Their cognitive, physical and social skills are still developing. 
  • Cannabis legalization and the widespread influence of social media have also contributed to risky driving behaviour among young drivers. 

Partnering with young driver peers

To effectively address the issue of road fatalities and injuries among youth, we are partnering with Canadian residents aged 15 to 24 to: 

  • understand the facilitators, barriers, attitudes and perceptions that affect safe driving behaviours in young drivers
  • identify new opportunities and channels for increasing youth awareness of road safety issues
  • build a framework and tools that will guide engagement of young drivers and their passengers in Parachute’s road safety initiatives

Informed by published research and other successful youth outreach efforts, we engaged young Canadians through focus groups, peer-to-peer interviews and surveys to:

  • understand how they think and feel about safe driving behaviours
  • how they behave as road users
  • what influences their behaviours
  • who influences their behaviours
  • where they go for trusted information on road safety 

We compiled what we’ve learned to identify tools and channels for reaching young drivers and passengers and to develop a framework and materials to engage youth during National Teen Driver Safety Week, held annually the third week of October.

The Canadian Youth Road Safety Council

All project activities are co-led by the Canadian Youth Road Safety Council

This advisory council helps identify important issues and trends affecting youth, as well as critiques current road safety programs, advises on youth recruitment and retention strategies and co-designs the youth road safety program framework.

Council members strengthen Parachute’s road safety programs through their leadership and earn an honorarium and a reference letter after completing their term. They have the opportunity for personal and professional development, as well as learn skills and gain knowledge for future academic and job opportunities.

We acknowledge Transport Canada for providing funding for this initiative.