Shawn Pettipas, Director of Community Engagement at BCAA with his daughter as they cross the street in a soon to be busy school zone (CNW Group/British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA))
BCAA urges back-to-school homework assignment for parents: Stop rushing in school zones or someone’s going to get hurt
Burnaby, B.C., August 28, 2018 – With back to school almost here, BCAA is imploring parents to stay calm and focused during the chaotic school zone rush hours of drop-off and pick-up.
Over the past few years BCAA’s School Zone Safety Surveys have delivered increasingly concerning results about the driving behaviours of parents witnessed in school zones.
“School zones are somewhere between an obstacle course of potential dangers and the Wild West,” says Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Community Engagement Director. “It’s particularly bad during the first few weeks after kids return from summer break.”
According to last year’s BCAA School Safety Report that surveyed parents and school staff across BC, 80% had witnessed a number of dangerous driving behaviours in school zones, including not stopping at crosswalks, speeding, and using cell phones behind the wheel. Results from 2016 found that congestion, being in a hurry or running late, and distraction make safe driving during drop-off and pick-up times particularly difficult for parents.
Pettipas is worried that this year will be the same and is respectfully urging parents to do everything possible to get in the right mindset before heading out with the kids on the first day back.
“I’m a parent, so I understand that feeling of being rushed,” Pettipas says. “I know that pressure to drop off and pick up on time, but if we don’t collectively stop rushing, someone’s going to get seriously hurt.”
Dr. Ian Pike with Preventable agrees that rushing in school zones continues to be an issue that needs to be addressed. Over the past ten years, numbers of child pedestrian hospitalizations and deaths have not improved. This lack of progress is associated with being in a rush, speeding in school zones and distracted driving.
“Every year, 72 schoolchildren in BC are injured by vehicles in school or playground zones,”(1) says Dr. Ian Pike, co-executive director of Preventable. “We wish to remind drivers to be alert, focused, not on their phones, and to drive like they expect a child to run out into the road.”For school zone safety tips for parents go to bcaa.com/schoolzone.
1 ICBC. 2010-2014. “ICBC asking drivers & parents to keep children safe as school returns.”
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The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, car and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full automotive services at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Community Child Car Seat Program and BCAA Play Here. Please visit bcaa.com.
About BCAA’s School Zone Safety research
- 2017 results based on an online study conducted from July 15 to July 21, 2017, among a representative sample of 720 adults in British Columbia, including 307 who currently serve as principals, teachers or school staff at a British Columbia elementary school, and 413 parents or guardians who drop off and/or pick up a child from school.
- 2016 results based on an online study conducted from August 29 to September 1, 2016, among a representative sample of 712 adults in British Columbia, including 301 who currently serve as principals, teachers or school staff at a British Columbia elementary school, and 411 parents or guardians who drop off and/or pick up a child from school.
- Data for both surveys is statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error for the entire sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points.
Preventable (also known as The Community Against Preventable Injuries) is a province-wide, multi-partner organization raising awareness, transforming attitudes, and ultimately changing behaviours. The goal of the organization and its partners is to significantly reduce the number and severity of preventable injuries in BC. Preventable’s strategy is based on two years of extensive research to develop a comprehensive understanding of how and why preventable injuries occur throughout the province. Preventable’s work is made possible through the financial and in-kind support of a variety of organizations that continue to sign on as partners in fighting the epidemic of preventable injuries in BC. Now in its 10th year of activity, the campaign is an evolution in Preventable’s ongoing discussion with British Columbians about the epidemic proportions of preventable injuries.