Transport Minister Ho Chen-tan (賀陳旦) is urging the Department of Education to dedicate 6 hours per semester to road safety in elementary and high-schools, and 2 course credits at tertiary level.
The education minister, however, has said that the curriculum is already full. Education Minister Pan Wen-zhong (潘文忠) said we shouldn’t add to students’ existing study load.
The transport minister countered that it is important to inculcate a safety consciousness in people at an early age. He pointed out that Taiwan had a traffic fatality rate 3 to 5 times higher than Japan and European nations. Mr. He pointed out that other countries had a higher level of safety not because they had fewer vehicles on the road, but because an awareness of safety is taught from an early age.
Professor of Electrical Engineering Ye Bing-cheng (葉丙成) said teachers and principals had expressed that the transport minister’s call was typical of government departments pushing their self-interests onto the education system, adding pressure on students and teachers.
Deputy Transport Minister Wang Guo-Tsai (王國材) countered that road safety improvements in advanced countries were due to 70% education and 30% enforcement and engineering. Civil Engineering Professor Zhang Xue-kong argued that (張學孔) road and traffic safety is part of life education.
Professor Zhang used the examples of Germany, Holland, Australia and Japan and pointed out that in the U.K. road safety starts being taught to children as young as 3 years old. He cited international studies that showed that children pick up the traffic behavior habits of their parents before they are 10 years old.