Insurance Hunter: One-third of parents polled worry their child will be in a vehicle accident on way to/from school as school zones receive failing grade from parents
WINDSOR, ON, Oct. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - With school now in full swing, and families across the province settled back into their busy daily routines, what should be a simple part of a child's day is one of great concern for many Alberta parents. InsuranceHunter.ca's School Zone Safety Survey reveals a significant number of Alberta drivers polled are violating traffic laws and safety rules in school zones, creating dangerous drop-off and pick-up conditions, and causing many parents to fear for their child's safety.
The first in a series of vehicle safety awareness campaigns in Alberta, the InsuranceHunter.ca School Zone Safety Survey is an online study of Alberta and Ontario parents whose children are between four and 14 years, attend public or private school, and walk or drive to school. Hosted on the Angus Reid Forum, the survey reveals a number of significant Alberta-specific findings, including more than three-quarters (81%) of respondents have witnessed drivers violate traffic laws in school zones, and nearly one-third (31%) fear their child will be involved in a vehicle accident during drop-off or pick-up at school. Almost one-quarter (24%) report having to stop or swerve to avoid hitting a student when they were walking on or near school property, and almost one-fifth (18%) indicate that students, parents or caregivers have been hit or almost hit by a vehicle on or near school property during school hours.
"Although some school zones across the province receive a failing grade, there are important safety measures that can be taken to protect children on their way to and from school," says Gail Robertson, Road Safety Ambassador, InsuranceHunter.ca. "To ensure designated drop-off/pick-up zones are as safe as possible, Alberta schools should regularly communicate the rules around vehicle and pedestrian safety in these zones to both parents and students. Parents in turn need to obey all traffic laws and school zone safety procedures, including stopping at cross walks, not talking on cell phones, slowing down and staying alert."
Many drivers put children at risk by breaking traffic laws and violating safety procedures in school zones
The survey found that many traffic laws are being broken in school zones: just over three-quarters (78%) of respondents have witnessed people driving faster than the speed limit; 74% report drivers talking or texting on a cell phone while driving; 57% report drivers not stopping at a cross walk (compared to 37% in Ontario); 23% report drivers not stopping for crossing guards; and 13% report drivers running red lights.
The survey discloses that over one-third (39%) of parents polled feel safety procedures are not always followed by drivers in school zones. In fact, the majority (81%) of respondents report witnessing someone pull into an area into which they were not supposed to park when dropping off or picking up their child. Those who admitted to pulling into an area not designated for student drop-off/pick-up cited the following reasons: the drop-off/pick-up zone was full (49%); I was only stopping for a few minutes (43%); and I was in a hurry/running late (29%).
One-third of parents polled indicate their child's school does not have a designated drop-off/pick-up zone
While parents must do their part to improve school driving conditions, Alberta schools need to provide parents with the tools they need to successfully safeguard school drop-off/pick-up zones. The School Safety Survey shows over one-third (38%) of parents polled have never received a communication from their child's school regarding drop-off/pick-up safety procedures, and one-third (33%) say their school does not have a designated drop-off/pick-up zone (compared to one-quarter or 25% in Ontario).
Overcrowded school drop-off/pick-up zones receive failing grade from parents
According to the survey, of the schools that have designated drop-off/pick-up zones, Alberta parents polled feel they are overcrowded and can rarely find a spot to pull into. When asked to describe these zones at their child's school: half (49%) defined it as overcrowded; almost one-third (32%) described it as safe; just over one-third (37%) said it was easy to access; and less than one-fifth (17%) reported it was well-designed.
Of those who fear their child will be involved in a vehicle accident during drop-off/pick-up at school, two-thirds (66%) cited overcrowded drop-off/pick-up zones as the root of their concern. Other concerns expressed by parents regarding their child's safety include: distracted drivers (77%); drivers in a rush to drop-off/pick-up their child (72%); drivers who do not obey traffic rules (speed limit, cross walks, stop lights) around school property (67%); drivers on their cell phones who are talking, texting, and emailing (64%); and children who do not pay attention to traffic or traffic signals while walking to school (33%).
Three-quarters of parents polled drive children to school-almost half live less than four blocks away and few carpool
The survey reveals more than three-quarters (78%) of respondents' children are driven to school (compared to two-thirds or 66% in Ontario) - which is most likely a factor adding to the overcrowding of vehicle drop-off/pick-up zones. Of those who are driven, almost half (48%) live less than 1 km (one to four blocks) away. Also contributing to this congestion are parents who would also drive their kids to school when their child has to take something to school that is too large to carry (93%), when the weather is bad (86%), when they are running late (74%), or when the child is not feeling well (72%). A potential solution to reduce the number of cars in drop-off/pick-up zones is carpooling, however, more than three-quarters of respondents (78%) reveal they rarely or never carpool.
About the InsuranceHunter.ca School Zone Safety Survey
From September 6th to September 13th, the Angus Reid Forum conducted an online survey on behalf of InsuranceHunter.ca among a randomly selected group of 749 Ontario parents/step-parents and 589 Alberta parents/step-parents − all of whom have children in their household between four and 14 years who attend public or private school and either walk or are driven to school.
InsuranceHunter.ca is a hassle-free, online insurance comparison website which provides comparative quotes for auto, home and travel insurance for residents of Ontario and Alberta. By offering a simple, convenient, quick way to obtain insurance quotes, coupled with personal follow up from a qualified insurance broker, InsuranceHunter.ca ensures customers get the best insurance coverage at the best rate. For further information, visit www.InsuranceHunter.ca.
Please see infograph below.
SOURCE: Insurance Hunter Services Inc.
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