Dangerous driving during school drop-off may put kids at risk: study

Incidents of dangerous driving when dropping children off at school may be putting kids at increased risk for injuries, a new study shows.

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The joint research study, conducted by York University and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, measured dangerous driving behaviours and the numbers of children walking to school during morning drop-off times. The study also reviewed police reports on motor-vehicle involved collisions with children, mapped around 118 Toronto public elementary schools.

Data collected over a 12-year period showed that there were 411 children involved in personal motor vehicle collisions near schools, with 45 occurring during school travel times.

Twenty-nine collisions resulted in emergency department visits, said lead author Linda Rothman, a York University post-doctoral fellow and a research manager at SickKids.

According to the findings, the most common dangerous driving behaviours were unsafe parking and child drop-offs, including dropping children off on the opposite side of the road from the school.

More dangerous driving was observed in schools located in disadvantaged areas and those near roadways with higher speed limits.

Dr. Andrew Howard, a senior scientist and orthopaedic surgeron at SickKids said the study could have an impact on the municipal and school board rules concerning school zone safety.

“We urge that collision prevention approaches should include strategies to change the physical traffic environment, provide police enforcement and education to promote active transport to schools to reduce dangerous driving behavior,” Howard said in a statement.

The study was recently published online in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.



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