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People admit to seeing drivers speed, text in school zones: survey

(Mike Lloyd, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Driver say they've seen others running stop signs and failing to stop for a school bus

Four in 10 say they see worse driving behaviour today than they have in the past

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You may have seen it yourself while picking up or dropping off your kids — someone behind the wheel breaking the traffic laws in a marked school zone.

New numbers from the Canadian Automobile Association show a majority of us have caught others displaying some pretty bad behaviour.

“Speeding, texting and driving or distracted driving, people not stopping for a school bus, running stop signs, the list can go on,” says Kristine D’Arbelles, with CAA, which conducted the new poll. “These are all driving practices that have been seen in School Zones. And when you think about School Zones, these are definitely driving practices we do not want to see because we’ve got our children trying to get into school and these are pretty dangerous.”

A lot of those incidents could have been much worse. “Sixty-four per cent of Canadians have witnessed at least one dangerous driving practice in school zones. About 30 per cent of that is actually a near-miss or collision in a school zone, either with a child and a vehicle or with a child on a bike,” adds D’Arbelles.

And many of us feel things are only getting worse. “Four out of 10 Canadians say that they have witnessed more unsafe driving practices in school zones today than they have in the past. So it’s something that’s becoming more of a concern for Canadians,” says D’Arbelles.
She suggests parents dropping off or picking up their kids, park a few blocks away and safety walk them to or from school.

And always be aware of who is around you. “Making eye contact with children is actually extremely important. Try to make eye contact with those kids so that they see you and you see them. The eye contact will make sure that they stop if they need to stop,” says D’Arbelles.

Tips to stay safe in a school zone (CAA)

  • Drive with caution: Know and follow the speed limits in the school zones in your community
  • Make eye contact with children: In cooler temperatures, many children wear toques and hoods that limit their vision and cover their ears, so make eye contact
  • Be mindful of playgrounds: Exercise the same safe driving practices in school zones at all times of day, on weekends, and on holidays
  • Slow down: When it’s dark outside your depth perception and peripheral vision are compromised