Promoting driving safety in 37 countries worldwide
Honda is working to bring traffic safety education as a form of lifelong learning to not only drivers, but also transportation users nationwide in all life stages, from children to senior citizens. This effort is being led by the company's eight Traffic Education Centers and five Regional Branches in Japan.
We're also working to make expertise in traffic safety promotion activities developed in Japan available to overseas markets. We began offering programs overseas in 1972 as part of an effort that has now spread to include 36 countries worldwide (as of March 31, 2012).
By taking local circumstances into account when rolling out safety programs, we are able to more effectively provide traffic safety education to drivers in specific countries.
For pre-school children and elementary school students: Teaching the basic importance of stopping and watching
Based on a belief that traffic safety education must be provided from childhood in a manner consistent with each learner's stage of development in order to cultivate the habit of adhering to traffic rules and etiquette, Honda develops educational programs and learning materials that communicate basics of road safety through experience. We offer a variety of programs through which children can experience watching and listening, including Ayatorii*, a proprietary traffic safety educational program that encourages awareness on the part of learners, as well as child-parent traffic safety courses where parents and children can have fun learning about traffic safety together and events designed to allow parents and their children to enjoy motorcycle riding together.
Furthermore, we're working to promote traffic safety education for children by training instructors to communicate their expertise to parents and guardians, teachers, and local traffic safety instructors who are involved in related programs, thereby expanding safety activities to include more communities. During 2011, we passed on expertise in the Ayatorii* program to about 2,000 instructors from 219 villages, towns, and cities in 34 prefectures nationwide, and about 7,800 children participated. Local instructors have praised Ayatorii Hiyoko as an easy-to-understand way to teach infants the importance of stopping and watching through illustrations and quizzes.
*The name "Ayatorii" is derived from a Japanese expression meaning "teaching safety through friendly explanations."
For junior and senior high school, and university students: Encouraging students to change their behavior through a renewed understanding of the importance of traffic rules
It's important to encourage middle school, high school, and college students to be aware of themselves as adult members of a transportation-oriented society and to adopt good safety practices as they begin to use new modes of transportation for the first time in commuting to and from school, including bicycles and motorcycles. Honda programs in this area include bicycle traffic safety classes with practical skill training for middle and high school students as well as motorcycle riding safety classes for high school- and college-age riders. We believe that fostering an understanding of the importance of safe riding and an ability to anticipate hazards through safety classes helps prevent bicycle and motorcycle accidents, which are more common among drivers and riders in this age group.
To further promote driving safety to as many areas as possible, we're working actively to train instructors to communicate expertise to local traffic safety instructors, including local governments, police, and driving schools as well as promote traffic safety education at junior and senior high school, and university student.
During 2011, we created new teaching materials for middle- and high-school bicycle education and made them available for free download from the Honda website so that interested individuals can make unrestricted use of them. The materials, which consist of a Bicycle Safety Education Manual and associated worksheets, are designed to stimulate students to think for themselves about traffic safety by examining actual bicycle accidents that have involved middle- and high-school students. Teachers serving as instructors in the program have praised the new materials as being an effective way to teach students about the dangers of violating traffic rules and the liability they would incur should they be found at fault in an accident.
For drivers (general drivers and instructors): Providing knowledge and skills that are useful in safe driving
Activities targeting drivers form the core of our efforts to promote driving safety, and we strive to help pass on safety education from person to person in response to social needs. Seven Traffic Education Centers in Japan offer participatory, hands-on education for private individuals as well as schools and companies through programs that combine practical skill training, hazard risk prediction training, a variety of simulator experience, and other elements in response to student skills and wishes.
Doga KYT, an educational device that lets trainees learn about safety by anticipating hazards as they watch a video that recreates actual traffic conditions and then discuss the results among themselves, has been attracting attention as a safe driving training program that is well suited to corporate use. It is expected to see broad use in a variety of safe driving educational settings in the future.
At dealerships, which play the lead role in passing on safety along with products directly to customers, staff members who have earned internal Honda safe driving qualifications offer advice to individual customers on the sales floor and at events and hold safety courses using actual vehicles. As driving techniques that combine environmental and safety considerations attract more attention, the number of automobile dealerships offering environmental responsibility and safety advice to customers on the sales floor and in other settings is increasing.
For senior citizens: Empowering drivers to choose the safe course of action in a variety of traffic situations
The population of healthy, active seniors is increasing. At the same time, senior citizens suffer more fatalities in traffic accidents than any other age group. In order to help ensure senior citizens' ability to continue to actively participate in our mobility society, Honda pursues activities designed to encourage members of this age group to reaffirm their knowledge of traffic rules and safe driving techniques and to foster awareness of potential issues in their own driving habits.
One such activity is the Honda Kenko Driving School, an educational program for seniors featuring small class sizes. The program, which incorporates safety measures for seniors that are being pursued by local governments, is being used at the Shiawase Driver's School for senior citizens by Tochigi Prefecture and also as part of the training for the elderly provided by the town of Motegi.
Recognizing that many senior citizens become involved in accidents while walking or cycling because they fail to notice declines in their own physical abilities, Honda also offered bicycle traffic safety classes designed to help students reaffirm their knowledge of safe cycling habits while using the Ayatorii choju and the Honda Bicycle Simulator. Based on the fact that about half of the elderly who lost their lives due to traffic accidents were pedestrians, Honda developed a new "video seminar*1" and Silver Gakushu Daigaku*2 teaching materials for elderly pedestrians and cyclists. In the video seminar, students observe video of traffic situations (how pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles move), exchange their opinions, and examine their own traffic behavior to identify good points and bad points. The program is used in various events, including a 2011 traffic safety festival held for the elderly in Kochi by the local police department.
*1 Produced under the supervision of Professor Hiroo Ota of the TohokuInstitute of Technology
*2 A series of teaching materials introducing key points so that elderly individuals can ensure their own safety in a variety of situations while walking, riding a bicycle, or driving a car.
Enhancing partnerships to promote safe driving
Honda is working to enhance partnerships with a variety of organizations in order to promote traffic safety in Japan and overseas. In Japan, we're working closely with 36 driving schools in 16 prefectures to involve more people in traffic safety in local communities and instill safe driving habits.
During 2011, we held a safe driving skills course as part of a touring event that we hold each year in conjunction with Honda Hokkaido Co., Ltd. Prior to the course, we offered motorcycle safe driving instructor training to instructors at Asabu Driving School, Nakano Driving School in Tomakomai, and Tomakomai Driving School, all of which served as partners in the event. In addition to having instructors from area driving schools serve as course instructors, we laid a foundation for driving schools in Hokkaido to hold courses on their own in the future. In Toyama Prefecture, Toyama Driving School and Toyama Honda-kai* worked together to hold a Safety Festival in Toyama in order to promote a deeper understanding of traffic safety on the part of area residents. We've also installed a bicycle simulator at Aomori Motor School in Aomori Prefecture, and we're using the simulator to offer bicycle education to local high school students.
Additionally, we're expanding efforts to promote safe driving in Japan and overseas while partnering with other groups and industry participants who are involved in traffic safety activities. A total of 134 instructors representing 79 driving schools from across Japan gathered for two days at the Suzuka Circuit Traffic Education Center to compete in the 11th Driving School Instructors Competition, an event that was first held in 2001. Honda is working actively with a range of groups to expand safety-related activities, including by cooperating with the National Traffic Safety Campaign held each fall and spring by the National Police Agency and offering instruction at Good Rider Meetings, a series of experiential safe motorcycle driving courses.
Local subsidiaries play the lead role in promoting traffic safety overseas, where they pursue a range of activities at dealerships, Traffic Education Centers, and other locations in line with the characteristics of their countries' transportation systems, primarily through the same means as in Japan: by passing on safety education from person to person and offering participatory, hands-on education programs.
In addition to offering driver education programs at dealerships and Traffic Education Centers in Vietnam, Honda Vietnam is training elementary school teachers in major cities to act as instructors in educational programs for children. We're pursuing similar activities in 36 countries worldwide, including an effort by Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India to have instructors at dealerships offer traffic safety education to everyone from elementary school students to general riders at a variety of venues.
*An organization composed of Honda automobile dealers in Toyama Prefecture.
Software development: Offering advanced, original educational programs based on accumulated expertise
Using simulator technologies to develop new software
According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, approximately 1.7 million patients undergoing rehabilitation treatment throughout Japan are striving to reintegrate themselves into society. Among these individuals are many who had experience driving before their illness and who wish to start driving again after their recovery is complete; however, due to the lack of clear standards for determining whether a given patient is capable of driving again, physicians and occupational therapists have difficulty making that judgment. In response to this challenge, Honda began developing a new software so that patients undergoing rehabilitation can work with their occupational therapists and other medical professionals to evaluate their ability level and train for a return to driving, in March 2012 Honda offering rehabilitation-use driving competence evaluation software for use with the Honda Safety Navi, a simple automobile driving simulator used in traffic safety education. By having patients check a flashing, single-color lamp displayed on the screen and testing the speed and accuracy with which they can perform different actions assigned to different colors, the software can evaluate not only their ability to concentrate and make good judgments, but also the extent to which they are able to check the safety of their surroundings while driving on city streets and whether they are able to drive to their destination while obeying directions and instructional signage. In addition to providing a score indicating the individual's driving ability level based on a five-stage, age-appropriate evaluation, the software enables users to "replay" their driving experience so that they can check their own driving in an objective manner and review difficult segments of the trip. The software has already been introduced on a trial basis at a number of medical institutions, where it is being used as a rehabilitation program for getting qualified patients back on the road. Physicians have praised it, citing their expectation that it will serve as an important tool for making objective judgments about whether patients can drive without any problems after their recovery. In this way, we look forward to supporting patients who wish to drive once more with support equipment that facilitates driving-related rehabilitation instruction with fixed evaluation standards for physicians and occupational therapists.
Additionally, in April Honda Traffic Education Centers introduced a safe driving support program that puts participants behind the wheel as a way to assist in the final evaluation of driving competence in rehabilitation using actual vehicles. By linking that program with rehabilitation software, we are striving to support patients' return to driving through a solution with both hardware and software components.