Safety on the school run

Maya Driver

The school run has long been a point of contention between motorists and mums. While the majority of commuters in the rush hour would prefer the school run to be banned to reduce congestion, parents argue that they want to make sure their children get to school safely and don't get run over or approached by strangers. As the number of school run cars has increased over the years, it seems that the parents are winning the battle.

Statistics have shown that during the morning rush hour 1 in 5 cars on the road are on the school run and there are some 3 million parents driving their children to school every day. Surely with all this extra traffic, apart from there being more congestion, there are also bound to be more road accidents. Is it really safer for children to be driven to school? As well as being at risk of car crashes, children who are driven to school miss out on an opportunity to get exercise through walking or cycling.

Parents who live near their schools are encouraged to leave the car at home and walk their children to school. The 'Walking Bus' is a scheme set up for children to go on a supervised walk to school. The children walk in pairs and wear reflective clothing and the adults set off on a prearranged route collecting their 'passengers' along the way. Even if you don't live near the school and have to drive to work, you could drop your child off at one of the walking bus's stops, leaving the roads around the school traffic-free.

Cycling with your child to school can be a great way for you to spend some quality time together and for you both to get exercise. Local councils run cycling training courses that teach kids about road safety.

Sometimes there is no other option than to drive to school. In this case you can help prevent accidents and congestion around the school by parking well away from the yellow zigzag areas. Contact other parents and see if you can set up a lift sharing scheme. The school run will no doubt always be a part of term-time life but there are ways to make it traffic and environmentally friendly.