FILE - Const. Devin Fidler points a Dragoneye speed reader at cars driving in Victoria ahead of back-to-school week.(Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Parents get C- for safe driving in school zones: BCAA

Annual survey suggests unsafe driving continues to put kids in danger

Parents have been given a C- for how they’ve been driving in B.C. school zones.

Speeding, illegal parking, and unsafe drop-offs and pick-ups were the issues most witnessed during the first week back to class, according to an annual B.C. Automobile Association survey released Wednesday.

“This isn’t about shaming parents,” said 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.”

READ MORE: RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

The BCAA has surveyed school employees and parents on driving behaviour during the first week of school for years, but this year, the results were also graded by Vancouver-based market research firm Insights West.

Parents scored an F grade for illegal parking, as 67 per cent of respondents said they saw violations take place.

They also got an F for unsafe drop-offs and pick-ups, with 61 per cent of respondents reporting those happening outside designated areas, and 62 per cent witnessed parents allowing kids to cross the road unsafely.

D grades were awarded after 56 per cent of respondents witnessed school-zone speeding and “selfish driving behaviours,” such as blocking traffic, not letting others go first, and not apologizing for obvious driving errors.

READ MORE: Township of Esquimalt doesn’t have school zones

Some improvements were reported in levels of distracted and aggressive driving.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents still witnessed cell phone use behind the wheel, but 23 per cent said it was better than last year.

Aggressive driving, such as honking and using profanity was seen by 23 per cent of respondents, which is also lower than last year.

“It’s still not good enough, but it is heartening to see a few behaviours improving,” Pettipas said.

“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.”



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