OTTAWA, ON – More than 80 percent of Canadian parents have witnessed dangerous driving in school zones, according to a new poll released by the Canadian Automobile Association.
“Drop off and pick up times can be hectic, but these numbers are unacceptable,” says Jeff Walker, Chief Strategy Officer, CAA National. “Parents and drivers should always exercise caution, be extra attentive and slow down in school zones.”
Parents reported distracted driving and speeding were the most common behaviours. They also reported seeing drivers not stopping at marked crosswalks, ignoring traffic signs and road rules, ignoring crossing guards and student safety patrollers, and hostile driving.
Parents and drivers can do their part to keep school zones safe. Driving the speed limit, or slower, reduces chances of injury. Reducing distractions behind the wheel also significantly decreases chances of collisions, motorists who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
“School zones have changed a lot in a generation,” says [Club representative]. “Fewer children walk to school, which means more cars and busses crowd a small space in a relatively short period of time, making school zones harder to manoeuver safely.”
The survey found 84% of Canadians with young children reported seeing dangerous driving in a school zone, and 55% say they are noticing more unsafe driving practices today than in the past.
The results of the public opinion research are based on a sample of 807 Canadians with children aged 4 to 13 in the household. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.45%, 19 times out of 20.
Five tips on staying safe in school zones from CAA
- Make eye contact with children: With the excitement of back to school, anticipate that children may not easily see or hear your moving vehicle. Make eye contact with passing pedestrians and cyclists.
- Reduce traffic by walking: Incorporate a short walk into your commute to school. CAA encourages parents to park a block away and walk to school, if possible, to reduce congestion and make school zones safer.
- Slow down: Know the speed limit in your neighbourhood’s school zones and respect them.
- Watch for more school buses: Always stop for the buses’ flashing lights, and wait for children to get safely on or off. Stay alert and watch for children or parents crossing the road when the bus moves on.
- Choose a safe spot to drop off and pick up your children from school: Follow your school’s rules and don’t park illegally, it can put your child’s safety at risk. Instead, use the designated drop off areas or consider a spot a bit farther away from school that is easily accessible and safe.