BC Drivers Get a ‘D’-rating for School Zone Driving Knowledge
Before I even go into this – put your phone down. You’re not as sneaky as you think you are and we can all see what you’re doing. If your reply to a text can’t wait (it can btw), check your mirrors, signal, and pull over.
We all know that kids aren’t the most observant road-crossers so it’s up to us, the drivers to make sure we slow down.
As kids and parents head back to school this year, safety is top of mind for many. However, BC drivers have some serious homework to do after receiving a ‘D’ grade while completing a new BCAA survey – exposing dangerous knowledge gaps when it comes to driving in school zones.
The survey, part of this year’s BCAA Back to School Driving Safety campaign, showed that 74% of drivers surveyed don’t know how to tell when a school zone ends and 69% are confused about stopping in school zones. Further, more than half (60%) reported witnessing drivers acting hostile near schools
and 80% reported witnessing speeding in school zones.
To help drivers brush up on their school zone knowledge and adhere to their responsibility of following the rules of the road, BCAA has five key tips to keep kids safe during the school year, including:
- Build in time to prevent rushing: Parents can feel pressure when it comes to dropping off and picking up their children. Anticipate school
zone congestion and give yourself extra time to get through it safely.
- Expect the unexpected: Look out for safety risks such as kids darting from cars, along with kids who are cycling and other pedestrians.
- Follow school zone rules: Respect your school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures, along with traffic rules such as driving within the speed
limit, stopping at marked crosswalks, and not driving distracted.
- Reduce congestion: Consider walking, cycling with your child or parking a few blocks away and walking your child the rest of the way to school.
- Focus on what you can control: No matter what’s going on around you, be patient and courteous. Reacting with extreme frustration may aggravate the situation and increase the risk of unsafe behaviours.
Also, it’s going to start getting darker in the mornings and combined with the rain, driving conditions get more challenging. Slowing down is the first step to keeping you and everyone around you safer.
Full Press Release:
New BCAA Survey Gives British Columbians a “D” Grade For School Zone Safety Awareness
Burnaby, BC, September 6, 2022 – A new BCAA survey which tested drivers’ knowledge of school zone laws and rules rates them a D grade, showing there’s some serious homework due to protect kids as they head back to school.
This year’s BCAA Back to School Survey, conducted by Leger, reveals that drivers have some dangerous knowledge gaps when it comes to how to drive safely in school zones. While the good news is that most BC drivers (81%) know the school zone speed limit is 30 km/h and understand school bus stopping laws (88%), there are many other school zone rules that drivers either get wrong or don’t know.
In fact, 74% of drivers surveyed don’t know how to tell when a school zone ends, 69% are confused about stopping in school zones, and 42% don’t know the speed limit when school is not in session.
Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement, is worried by the survey results and encourages drivers to brush up on their school zone safety knowledge. “Bad driving in school zones, especially during back-to-school time, is scary and dangerous. It’s often chalked up to rushing at a busy time of year, but the fact that many drivers don’t know the driving laws and rules for school zones is putting kids at even greater risk.”
“Every day thousands of drivers travel through school zones as parents drop off and pick up their kids,” Pettipas says. “I worry that so many drivers don’t have the knowledge they need to drive through school zones safely. Rushing, alongside not knowing school zone road safety rules, is a risky combination.”
In addition to the D grade on the knowledge test, poor driving behaviours are also putting kids at risk. According to the survey, dangerous driving in school zones is still a common occurrence, especially during back-to-school time. In fact, 80% of those surveyed report witnessing speeding in school zones, while 77% have seen distracted driving. Illegal parking is widespread, with 78% reporting that as an issue and 69% say they have witnessed parents encouraging their kids to break the rules to make the school bell. Unfortunately, frustrated driving also persists, with, 60% reporting having witnessed drivers acting hostile in school zones.
Dr. Ian Pike of Preventable is also concerned about lack of knowledge and poor driving and the potential for children to get hurt. “School zones are such a unique environment, with pedestrians, scooters, bikes and vehicles all navigating around each other. When you think about kids’ lives being at stake, it’s imperative that we all play our part to minimize risk. Sensible behaviours like slowing down, driving with full awareness and expecting the unexpected goes a long way to help – but honestly, making sure you know the road safety laws and rules for school zones is homework we should all do.”
About This Survey
These results are based on an online survey of a representative sample of 1,001 adult British Columbians (including 123 parents/guardians of elementary or middle school-aged children) surveyed using Leger’s panel, LEO, from August 12-14, 2022. The school zone safety quiz included seven questions and on average respondents got 50% of them correct. As a non-random internet survey, a margin of error is not reported. For comparison, a probability sample of n=1,001 would have a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Any discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.
BCAA (British Columbia Automobile Association) is a purpose-driven Member-based organization delivering peace of mind to our Members and customers across BC with proven protection and mobility solutions as Canada’s Most Trusted brand in association with CAA (Canadian Automobile Association). With more than one million Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 BC households with industry-leading products, including home, car, travel, and small business insurance, Evo Car Share, roadside assistance, and full auto repair at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres across the province. BCAA also has a long history of keeping our roads safe and giving back in ways that improve the lives of British Columbians and communities throughout our province.