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Distracted parents in drop-off zones a top concern for back-to-school rush: BCAA

About 72 students are injured in school zones every year, according to the roadside assistance company
A BCAA survey found 68 per cent of respondents believe school zone traffic will be more chaotic than usual this year. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)

A new BCAA survey shows most British Columbians expect school zones to be more chaotic this year – with the main reason being distracted parents.

The latest annual survey found 48 per cent of respondents believed school zones will be more dangerous and 68 per cent believe they will be more chaotic. The survey was conducted by Insights West and gathered input from parents and educators around the province.

“People have new routines, they don’t know the drop-off and pick-up procedures, so it kind of leads to dangerous driving behaviour,” said Shawn Pettipas, BCAA director of community engagement. He added this year is more concerning because of added stress from COVID-19 uncertainty.

“There is just a heavy mental load on people these days and we are scared people will be distracted, which can lead to even more dangerous driving,” he said.

In a news release Wednesday (Sept. 1), ICBC said it found an increase in self-reported cell phone usage while driving during the pandemic. An Ipsos Reid survey conducted for ICBC in May 2021 found almost all drivers (93 per cent) believe texting while driving is risky, but 40 per cent admitted they still use their phone at least one out of every 10 trips.

On average, 72 children are injured in school or playground zones every year, according to BCAA.

The survey also found many British Columbians have grown accustomed to seeing poor driving habits in school zones in pre-pandemic times: 75 per cent reported witnessing speeding; 59 per cent reported aggressive driving and 68 per cent saw parent drivers failing to stop at crosswalks.

Parents are encouraged to build extra time into their schedule, know school drop-off and pick-up routines, as well as pay close attention to traffic rules.


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