When it comes to parent drivers and their behaviour in school zones, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
That’s the main finding from BCAA’s annual School Zone Safety Survey, which was released on Wednesday morning.
The survey was conducted by Insights West and included an online study that took place from September 6 to 10, 2019. Of the 869 adults that participated, 192 of them were either employed at an elementary school or are a parent or guardian.
“For several years, BCAA’s surveys of school employees and parents who drop-off and pick up kids at elementary schools across the province have identified persistent bad driving behaviours witnessed during the busy first week of school,” writes BCAA on their website.
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In a report card for parent drivers, BCAA gave parents an overall grade of C- for their driving behaviour in school zones. What the overall grade doesn’t show, however, is that parent drivers were given failing grades in several categories.
The report card gave parent drivers an F for both illegal parking and unsafe drop-offs and pickups. According to the study, 61% of participants saw unsafe drop-offs and pickups outside of designated areas — 62% witnessed other parents “allowing and even encouraging kids to cross the road unsafely.”
A pair of Ds were also handed out to parent drivers — 56% of respondents noted school zone speeding and 51% reported selfish driving behaviours, like blocking traffic and failing to let others pass.
“This isn’t about shaming parents,” writes Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement. “It’s about raising awareness of what’s happening in school zones across the province and reminding parents to slow down and drive kind so no one gets hurt.”
The study also noted two key improvements — respondents noted a decrease in distracted and aggressive driving. Although four-in-10 respondents say they still witness cell phone use while driving, 23% say it’s better than last year.
The same number of respondents also say that aggressive driving habits like honking and using profanities in school zones has decreased.
“It’s still not good enough, but it is heartening to see a few behaviours improving,” says Pettipas. “We’ll keep encouraging parents to slow down, park legally and be kinder to each other – our hope is that parent drivers will consider this throughout the entire school year.”