A practical approach was developed to assess and compare the effects of five short road safety education (RSE) programmes for young adolescents that does not rely on injury or crash data but uses self reported behaviour. Questionnaires were administered just before and about one month after participation in the RSE programmes, both to youngsters who had participated in a RSE programme, the intervention group, and to a comparable reference group of youngsters who had not, the reference group. For each RSE programme, the answers to the questionnaires in the pre- and post-test were checked for internal consistency and then condensed into a single safety score using categorical principal components analysis. Next, an analysis of covariance was performed on the obtained safety scores in order to compare the post-test scores of the intervention and reference groups, corrected for their corresponding pre-test scores. It was found that three out of five RSE programmes resulted in significantly improved self-reported safety behaviour. However, the proportions of participants that changed their behaviour relative to the reference group were small, ranging from 3% to 20%. Comparisons among programme types showed cognitive approaches not to differ in effect from programmes that used fear-appeal approaches. The method used provides a useful tool to assess and compare the effects of different education programmes on self-reported behaviour.