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Parents to drivers: Please be more careful in school zones

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Photo: SDI Productions/iStockphoto

If you worry about your children’s safety in school drop-off/pickup areas, a new survey shows you’re not alone.

The University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital commissioned a survey of more than 900 parents of kids ages 6-12. Nearly a third of the parents (28%) believe it’s likely a child will get hurt near the car or bus drop-off area. The risks most commonly cited: drivers not paying attention (37%), speeding (34%), parking in no-parking zones (26%) and students being dropped off in wrong locations (26%).

Researchers say these hazards are made worse when drivers are on their phones, rushed or otherwise distracted. Parents agree: 29% said schools should suspend or ban anyone from entering school parking areas if they don’t follow traffic rules.

Other findings:

  • Parents also worry about kids not staying on sidewalks and bus drivers not paying attention.
  • 66% want traffic flow directed through the use of cones, gates or other barriers.
  • 58% believe drivers who don’t follow school zone traffic rules should be ticketed.

To help keep kids safe, make sure you’re consistently following traffic laws in and around school zones. If your schedule allows, accompany your child to reinforce safe behaviors, meet crossing guards and be part of a community of parents who are looking out for the safe arrival/departure of all students. Finally, do a test run together to determine the safest route and identify potential hazards.

“Most schools have a plan to manage traffic and minimize the need for children to walk in front of or between cars,” said Sarah Clark, research scientist and co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. “When parents don’t follow these rules, it disrupts the traffic flow and may mean other parents have to drop off or pick up their child in the middle of the road.”

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