Speeding cars and traffic top child pedestrian safety concerns for parents

Survey reveals less than 1 in 3 children walking to school

TORONTO, May 13, 2015 Seventy five percent of parents are concerned about their children sharing the road with speeding cars and traffic, and only 28% of students are walking to school, according to a new national survey from Parachute and FedEx Express Canada.

The Walking to School survey indicates that 70% of children travel to school via car, school bus or public transit.  The survey polled Canadian parents of children aged 5-14 to better understand parents’ awareness and understanding of safety issues for children using active transportation (walking, cycling etc.) to get around.

Results indicate speeding cars and traffic, lack of sidewalks and bike lanes are top concerns for parents. Drivers across the country can help increase pedestrian safety by reducing vehicle speed.

In addition, spring provides a great opportunity for families to review their safety rules and start new habits, like walking to school. 

“We all play a role in keeping our children safe while they walk in their communities,” says Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada.  “At FedEx Express Canada, we put safety above all, both in the workplace and in the communities in which we operate.”

Even small reductions in vehicle speed can yield significant reductions in injury risk.  Pedestrians have less than a 50% chance of surviving a collision if struck by a car travelling 50 km per hour or more, but a 90% chance of survival if the car is travelling 30 km per hour (World Health Organization. Safer roads: five key areas for effective interventions; 2004 [cited 2009 Apr 15]).

Survey results also indicated that, as illustrated in the infographic, most parents are doing their part by modeling good pedestrian behavior when with their children.  Further, some of the top factors identified by parents that make them feel more comfortable with their child walking to school are: walking with a friend (44%), walking with an adult (39%) and traffic calming measures (20%).

“We want parents to continue the important job of showing their children safe pedestrian practices,” says Louise Logan, Parachute’s President and CEO. "And we are asking drivers to reduce speed and focus on keeping pedestrians safe.  By all working together, our kids will be able to walk safely to and from school this spring.”

In addition to reducing speed, drivers can keep these good safety habits top of mind:

  • Eliminate distractions – when driving, put cell phones and other distractions out of sight.
  • Be alert – especially in residential neighbourhoods and school zones. Look out for bikers, walkers or runners who may step into the street unexpectedly.
  • Yield to pedestrians – give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when turning to spot bikers, walker or runners who may not be immediately visible.
  • Be cautious – enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Parachute offers the following tips for parents to give their children for walking to school and in neighbourhoods safely:

  • Assess your child’s abilities.  Young children lack the maturity and developmental skills to cross the street on their own and should be accompanied either by an adult or by responsible older children.
  • As they grow, teach your child the rules of the road; remind them to look and listen every time they cross the street.
  • Teach by doing.  Walk with your children to school and demonstrate safe pedestrian practices – crossing only at intersections, stop signs and crosswalks.
  • Eliminate distractions.  Cellphones and other electronic devices should not be used when walking across streets or driving. 

For complete survey results and an infographic, visit parachutecanada.org/walkingtoschool.

For more than 10 years, Parachute has been funded by FedEx Express Canada to deliver Walk This Way, a national awareness campaign aimed at reminding parents and drivers about road safety and ensuring kids can walk safely to and from school, from a friend’s house and in the neighbourhood. For information and resources on pedestrian and road safety, including the Pace Car community program, visit parachutecanada.org.

About the Survey

From February 13th to February 14th, 2015 an online survey was conducted among a sample of 359 Canadian parents who had at least one child between the ages of 5 to 14, by Vision Critical. The margin of error- which measures sampling variability – is +/- 5.2%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of Canadian parents. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. 

About FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services.  With annual revenues of $47 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand.  Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 325,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.

About Parachute

Parachute is a national charity helping Canadians stop the clock on preventable injuries. The injury impact is staggering. Preventable injuries are the #1 killer of children. They cost the Canadian economy $20B a year, and worst of all, one child dies every nine hours. Through education, knowledge and empowerment, Parachute is working to save lives and create an injury-free Canada. For information, visit us at parachutecanada.org, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

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For information:

George James
Parachute
647-776-5125 (w)
416-402-3783 (c)
gjames@parachutecanada.org

Feria Kazemi, Parachute
647-776-5134 (w)
fkazemi@parachutecanada.org