EDITORIAL: Parents driving badly are the biggest danger to school kids

With school back in session on Tuesday comes increased risk to children from irresponsible drivers

And just like that, summer for the kids is over and classes are back in session.

That means way more vehicles on our roads, way more children crossing streets and walking along shoulders and in bike lanes where there are no sidewalks (Lake Trail Road between Lake Trail and Arden schools comes immediately to mind). In other words, the chances of a child being hit by a driver increases exponentially.

There is, then, some irony in the fact that the biggest risk factor to kids is parents driving dangerously. 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 per cent of British Columbian parents had witnessed speeding, 73 per cent reported drivers not stopping in crosswalks, while 56 per cent saw at least one near miss involving a child almost being hit by a car.

And it’s not getting better as 74 per cent 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.”

Families seem to be busier and busier these days, and a new school year will mean more stress and pressure and time crunches for all of us. But remember that vehicles of any size can be deadly weapons if operated irresponsibly, and a child will always lose in a collision with a car or SUV or truck driven by an impatient parent. Take a deep breath, slow down, drive with care.

– Black Press Media

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