As a new school year begins, many parents have voiced concerns over the dangers of school traffic and safety.
Back-to-school season also means a return to school traffic. It’s often a concern, but parents especially stress about distracted drivers, speeding, and other school travel hazards. Those with elementary-aged children fear that their kids are most vulnerable and so getting back into the school routine can be trying.
A poll taken last spring revealed that a third of parents are concerned about their children’s safety during school traffic. Even parent drivers stress out over school transportation because of the long lines, rushed cars, and vehicles left parked in no-parking zones, all while children are trying to walk into school through the bustle. Yet, distracted bus drivers and other concerns press many parents to drive their children to school and allow them to drive themselves once they earn their license.
This may be linked to fears over school bus violence. As school violence has increased in wake of the youth mental health crisis, incidents between students are breaking out during bus rides but going underreported. Schools are struggling through the worker shortage. It’s difficult enough to hire teachers right now, finding quality bus drivers is also an uphill battle and so policing bus activity is another added stress in addition to school traffic.
Parents who choose to drive their children to class wish for schools to do more to regulate school traffic and punish drivers who do not properly follow the rules. Those who do as they are supposed to and wait their turn each day grow tired of watching others disrupt the process and put children in danger. In addition, teaching kids to stay on sidewalks and remain in crosswalks and proper pedestrian areas is another measure that needs to be taken to ensure that everyone involved is safe and able to move on with their day once they get through the rush.
Although school traffic can be nerve-wracking for parents, fatalities and serious injury from school travel-related accidents remain relatively low. Of the nearly 50 million children enrolled in public school, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were just 113 school transportation-related fatalities. That’s not even a percentage of a percentage of schoolchildren.
Despite this, school traffic accidents do happen. College-age students are the most likely to be involved in a school transportation accident as both a pedestrian and when riding inside a vehicle. Elementary-aged schoolchildren are the second most likely to be struck as a pedestrian and so many parents grow worried over this prospect.
How schools handle their traffic depends on their administration and initiatives. Whether school traffic is a top priority or not, it affects every student and parent supporting the school. Officials need to be proactive in listing and enforcing traffic and pedestrian rules in order to help curb parental stress and better serve their communities. Whether this becomes a more focused goal or not is uncertain. Public schools especially are experiencing unprecedented challenges and so parents who wish for policies to change must contact teachers and administrators as well as attend school board meetings to properly voice their concerns and gain support.