August 28, 2018 by Staff
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 B.C., 80% had witnessed a number of dangerous driving behaviours in school zones, including not stopping at crosswalks, speeding, and using cellphones 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 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 10 years, the 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 school children in B.C. are injured by vehicles in school or playground zones,” 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.”
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This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.