British Columbians Concerned About School Zone Road Safety


BCAA School Zone Safety survey reveals common driving mistakes in school zones and how drivers can contribute to better safety

  • 72 per cent in B.C. believe that road safety in school zones is worse around “back to school” times.
  • 80 per cent in B.C. think motorists are aware of the rules of the road when it comes to school zones, but often break them.
  • 78 per cent in B.C. have seen a driver speeding in a school zone; 18 per cent have seen a “near miss” in a school zone.

Burnaby, B.C. – As children across the province prepare to go back to school, the British Columbia Automobile Association’s (BCAA) School Zone Safety Survey, conducted by Insights West, reveals that almost half of British Columbians (45 per cent) believe that school zone safety is getting worse in the province—a number that jumps to 57 per cent among B.C. drivers who take children to school.

“Our research shows that seven-in-ten British Columbians think that road safety in school zones is worse around back to school times, so we hope our survey will be a timely reminder to all drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who find themselves in a school zone, of the importance of being aware of the potential dangers and taking extra care,” says Mark Donnelly, President and COO of BCAA’s Road Safety Foundation.

Four-in-five (80 per cent) of survey respondents believe that B.C. motorists are aware of school zone rules but often break them. The concerns are well exemplified by the large proportion of British Columbians who have witnessed specific poor driving behaviour in school zones over the past year. Seventy eight per cent have seen a driver speeding in a school zone, and half (51 per cent) have witnessed a driver using a hand-held device while behind the wheel in a school zone.

BCAA School Zone Drivers’ Report Card: Room for improvement

To remind drivers how they can play their part to improve road safety, BCAA has compiled a list of some of the driving mistakes British Columbians have seen drivers make in school zones during the past year:

  • Speed in a school zone (78 per cent)
  • Use a hand-held device while behind the wheel in a school zone (51 per cent)
  • Stop in a no-stopping zone (42 per cent)
  • Roll through a stop sign (41 per cent)
  • Fail to stop at crosswalks when there are people waiting to cross (41 per cent)
  • Stop in traffic to let a child out of the car (40 per cent)
  • Double-park (32 per cent)
  • Act frustrated (aggressive honking, hand gestures, cursing) (23 per cent)
  • Let a child out of the backseat of the car from the driver’s side (22 per cent)
  • Have a near miss with a pedestrian or cyclist (18 per cent)

“Everyone has a role to play in school zone road safety. We know from working with schools, school districts and the police, that there are road safety issues and we encourage drivers to remember how they can contribute to better safety,” says Mark Donnelly. “Child road safety is of critical importance to BCAA and that’s why we offer the BCAA School Safety Patrol Program free of charge to all B.C. schools. We’re committed to expanding the program to help keep kids safe on the roads – particularly in school zones.”

The BCAA School Safety Patrol Program is used by schools to help them organize and properly train a team of student safety patrollers who volunteer their time to ensure their peers remain safe at road crossings within schools zones. As a School Safety Patroller, students are taught about road safety, citizenship and team work. Registered elementary schools receive safety patrol equipment, structured training materials and student resources to launch and run the program.

The BCAA School Zone Safety Survey also revealed that while the vast majority of British Columbians (87 per cent) correctly identified 30 km/h as the speed limit at school zones, there is confusion about the time of day when this speed limit is applicable. Only 51 per cent of B.C. residents properly identified that the speed limit is in place from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with 49 per cent choosing an incorrect answer to this question.

The proportion of British Columbians who correctly identify the right time of the day for the speed limit reaches 63 per cent among those who drive children to school, meaning that more than one third of these motorists (37 per cent) selected the wrong time.

School zone road safety tips are available at www.bcaaroadsafety.com/schoolzone. More information about the BCAA School Safety Patrol Program is available at www.bcaaroadsafety.com.

About the survey

Results are based on an online study conducted from August 12 to August 17, 2013, among 825 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members, including 732 drivers. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To see the detailed data tabulations, click here.

About BCAA

BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one in four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto and travel insurance products and services, and roadside assistance. J. D. Power has ranked BCAA “Highest In Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada” two years in a row (2012 and 2013) – details at jdpower.com. Now in its 107th year, BCAA has over $400 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 900 employees. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership, visit bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit BCAARoadSafety.com.

Editors’ notes

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio
BCAA Communication Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859
Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
Cell: 778-929-0490
Email: mariocanseco@insightswest.com