Motorists Worry About Safety On The School Run


Over A Third See Children Getting Out Of Cars On The Roadside

New BCA research reveals the bad habits of the school run with 57% of motorists spotting illegal parking outside school gates

As the start of Autumn school term approaches, the latest research* from BCA, the leading vehicle remarketing company, reveals the pressures faced by parents – and other motorists – on school run routes. Both parents and non-parents were surveyed and with nearly half (45%) of non-parents saying they drive by schools or use the same route as parents dropping off their children, it’s clear that school runs create some significant pinch-points.

Key findings:

• 46% of all motorists believe parents drive their children to school because it takes too long to walk
• 30% of non-parents believe children demand to be driven to school, compared to just 17% of parents
• Over a third (38%) of all motorists think unreliable public transport prompts parents to drive children to school
• More than half (57%) of motorists see illegal parking outside of school gates
• 44% of have seen parents and children not looking at oncoming traffic when opening car doors
• Both parents and non-parents were most in favour of schools creating drop-off areas to tackle congestion and parking issues during the school run at 52% and 57% respectively
• 29% of parents think police officers should be on patrol to tackle parking issues during the school run
• Parents in Northern Ireland are most likely to drive their children to school, topping the list at 51%, followed by families in the North East and West Midlands at 39%.
• 36% of Londoners drive their offspring to school, whilst children in the South East are least likely to be driven at just 26%.

According to the new BCA research, it seems that driving children to school is a clear necessity for many families, with 46% of all motorists identifying the distance from home to school being too far to walk as the root cause. Unreliable public transport, or the lack of a school bus, is a another reason cited by over a third (38%) of motorists and for 31% it’s simply the logistics of getting different children to different schools that forces the decision.

But whatever the reason, it’s clear that traffic congestion in general and parking around the school gates is a cause for concern for many motorists. More than half of drivers (57%) said they see illegal parking outside school gates, with this being most prevalent in Scotland (62%) and least likely in Northern Ireland (47%).

When it comes to arguments over parking and driving, it seems that parents are much more aware of these issues than non-parents. 28% of parents said they had seen parents and residents arguing over parking spaces, compared to just 16% of non-parents. London takes the top spot for parking arguments at 30%.

Child safety is a concern for all motorists with 44% saying they see parents and children opening car doors and not looking at oncoming traffic and 35% seeing children getting out of cars on the road side rather than pavement.

“It’s clear from our survey that the stresses of the school run are getting motorists hot under the collar. And there are potentially dangerous choices being made by some drivers when it comes to double parking outside the school gates and ‘drop and go’ tactics that leave pupils having to negotiate busy roads before reaching the safety of the school,” says Tim Naylor, Editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report.

He added “Driving in the rush hour is always stressful and the school run just adds to the congestion, with many motorists seeing parents and children taking what they perceive to be unnecessary risks. Perhaps that’s why motorists were supportive of new measures to tackle congestion and parking issues that would make the environment safer for the school run.”

Top of the list for parents and non-parents was creating drop-off areas at schools at 53%; nearly a third (30%) suggested staggered drop-off times. But perhaps not surprisingly, non-parents were less keen on measures that might actually slow them down. Only 18% of non-parents favoured speed restrictions compared to 23% of parents. And probably considering the practicalities, parents were less in favour of community walking schemes at 27% compared to 39% of non-parents.