September 6, 2005

Chauffeuring school children can create danger zones at school

Burnaby, British Columbia – Unlike a generation ago when most children walked or cycled to school, half of all school children are being chauffeured by their parents, which is causing dangerous traffic congestion in school zones, reports the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) Traffic Safety Foundation.

“The percentage of automobile-dependent school kids is increasing each year, and disturbingly, many of those trips are less than a kilometre,” says Lynn Hennessey, coordinator of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation School Safety Patrol Program. “No doubt many parents drive their sons and daughters to school to ensure they arrive safely; however, traffic bottlenecks in and around school zones can pose serious safety hazards for the very same children that parents are trying to protect.”

Hennessey encourages parents to consider a number of safe transport alternatives, which will reduce congestion, pollution and risk of injury, and encourage children to become more physically active. Suggestions including a “walking school bus”, where parents walk a designated route, picking up and dropping children along the way; walking buddies; bicycles; and using public transportation.

For those who must drive their children to school, the Foundation recommends that drivers be alert and cautious in school zones and keep to the speed limit; use only designated drop-off and pick-up zones identified by the school; not pull U-turns or back up in school zones; obey “no parking” and “no stopping” signs; and leave more time than usual to get where you’re going.

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