Survey shows parents driving irresponsibly in school zones
Back to school: BCAA urges parents to ‘slow down and drive kind’
Burnaby, August 28, 2019 – Children across B.C. head back to school after Labour Day, and with research showing persistent dangerous driving in school zones, BCAA calls on parents to ‘slow down and drive kind’, particularly during the chaotic first few weeks back.
Irresponsible driving by parents is consistently reported in the last three BCAA annual surveys into driving behaviours seen in school zones. Rushing during drop off and pick up times is the biggest issue.
Last year’s survey, conducted a few weeks after the start of the school year, revealed that 80% of British Columbian parents had witnessed speeding, 73% reported drivers not stopping in crosswalks, while 56% saw at least one near miss involving a child almost being hit by a car. Disappointingly, 74% reported no improvement over the year before.
“It’s discouraging,” says Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement. “We’re seeing the same driving problems every year – parents are rushing and it’s putting kids in danger. We’re asking parents to think about the impact of their behaviour on others. We really hope the message is heard this year.”
To gain further insight, BCAA created a School Zone Advisory Group made up of school administrators, teachers, a principal and concerned parents across the province. Driving behaviour was a shared concern, especially a lack of courtesy that’s putting everyone at risk.
In addition to speeding, illegal parking was a common complaint as well as parents encouraging their kids to cross in undesignated areas. A few task force members shared stories about seeing children grazed by cars and even hit.
There were many ideas about how to reduce cars during the mayhem of drop off and pick up, including encouraging biking to school, parents parking outside the school zone and walking the child in, ‘walking school buses’ where children walk to school together guided by an adult, and neighbours sharing rides or ‘school-pooling’.
“There is some good work being done in school communities to improve school zone safety and that’s great news,” says Pettipas. “Ultimately, though, it comes down to parents getting the message and setting a positive example by slowing down and being considerate drivers.”
BCAA will commission another survey to check driving behaviours during the first few weeks back to school this year with results to be released later in September.
For school zone safety tips for parents, visit bcaa.com/schoolzone.
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, Child Passenger Safety and BCAA Play Here. Please visit bcaa.com.
For further information or to set up an interview, please contact:
BCAA, 778 874 4046