Parents' unsafe driving habits near schools put children at risk: study
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, January 21, 2016 8:32AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 21, 2016 3:22PM EST
It appears some Toronto parents are tossing aside good driving habits when dropping their kids off for school in the morning.
A new joint study by researchers at York University, the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto suggests that kids may be at an increased risk of injury due to dangerous driving behaviours when parents drop off and pick up their kids from school.
Using police data, the study revealed that over a 12-year period, 411 children were involved in personal motor vehicle collisions near 118 Toronto public elementary schools. According to the study’s authors, 45 collisions took place during school travel times between the weekday hours of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Sixty-four per cent of the collisions resulted in children being taken to the emergency room for their injuries.
Unsafe driving identified in the study included dropping children off on the opposite side of the school, double parking and blocking the vision of other motorists and pedestrians.
Speaking to CP24 Thursday morning, Mayor John Tory said he was concerned by the study’s findings.
“I think part of the problem (is) people being careless and speeding in school zones. I propose that we talk about the use of technology there to try and make people understand that they are not going to be able to just get away with this because there isn’t a police officer present,” Tory said.
“I can just say that I am concerned. The report is very disconcerting… And we will act on it in terms of things we can do to make sure school zones are safer.”
Toronto Police Const. Clint Stibbe told CP24 that poor driving habits near schools is a problem police officers see time and time again.
"The highest speed I’ve ever seen in a school zone was 101 in a 40. The person’s child went to that school," Stibbe said.
"What kind of safety message is that sending?"
Stibbe said parents need to leave more time in the morning so they don't have to rush to get their coffee or latte and get to work on time.
"(Parents) are not thinking far enough ahead," he said.
"We are thinking about the now but we aren’t thinking about the future consequences of our actions."