As schools reopen this week, an unsettling trend is emerging. According to a recent survey conducted by the CAA of South Central Ontario, there’s been an increase in unsafe driving behaviours witnessed by parents in school zones.
Kristen Trevelyan, a mother of three, bears witness to the fact that many drivers display an alarming disregard for safety, especially with children present. “People often seem oblivious to basic traffic rules like right of way,” reveals Trevelyan, whose offspring attend an elementary school in northwest London.
The efforts of crossing guards are commendable, she admits, but she’s appalled by the unabashed recklessness of certain motorists. Frequently, she observes drivers violating rules—notably in a nearby intersection —by infrancing on the passage of school buses.
Trevelyan is not alone in her observations, the raw data from the CAA survey paints an unflattering picture. “A staggering 82 percent of parents in Ontario have reported observing dangerous driving practices within the school zones. Also, over half of them, a total of 55 percent, consider the roads enclosing their child’s school to be hazardous,” said Tracy Marshall, the Community Relations Manager for CAA.
The troubling rise in precarious driving conditions over the previous year is being taken very seriously. Marshall explains, “Indiscriminate speeding, double parking, and stopping in unallocated regions are the most observed forms of endangerment.”
The survey also raises the pointer towards parents themselves being partial contributors to the predicament. The respondents opined that hurried parents, contributing to 38 percent of the issue, over-congestion at 33 percent, and disregard for school-specific procedures for drop off and pickups, are culprits for making school zones less secure.
In Trevelyan’s accounts, these scenarios are certainly not alien to her children’s school. “Often, parents rushing in to deliver or pick up their children create a chaotic arena. The pressure to beat the clock leads to a long queue and often a hasty encounter,” she explained.
A silver lining is present in the situation—77 percent of parents support the introduction of automated speed regulation in such zones, and three-quarters of them affirm its need for permanent establishment.
“Preventing accidents in school zones are of primary importance,” Marshall underscores, “and one of the feasible solutions is reducing speed in these areas. Simple precautions can significantly enhance the safety of these zones.”