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Are parents the worst drivers?

With children going back to school this week, school zones are back in force.

It’s an age-old question: who are the worst drivers? Well, general insurance provider AAMI and not-for-profit organisation Australian Road Safety Foundation reckon they have the answer: parents.

According to new AAMI data that analyses 340,000 insurance claims made during the 2018/2019 financial year, most car accidents happen between 1.00pm and 4.30pm, a timeslot that coincides with school pick-ups.

For reference, Friday is the worst day of the week for car accidents, followed by Thursday and Wednesday.

“It’s frightening that so many road accidents are happening when children, our most vulnerable and inexperienced road users, are crossing roads in large numbers and congregating near bus stops,” said the general insurance provider’s spokesperson, Paul Sofronoff.

“Our research suggests that too many drivers are flouting road rules and are oblivious to the dangers of speeding and driving distracted around schools, putting young lives at risk.”

Road trauma is the number-one killer of children aged under 15 years, but even having them aboard doesn’t stop the majority of parents from taking risks, according to research from the Australian Road Safety Foundation.

The not-for-profit organisation found 52 per cent of parents admit to speeding, using their mobile phones or driving distracted while their own children are in the car.

The research also revealed parents with the youngest of children aged under 24 years were the worst rated (75%) when it came to speeding on a regular basis, compared to parents in general (69%) and drivers without children (67%).

“These statistics highlight a casual attitude towards risky driving behaviours, and surprisingly more so amongst parents,” said Australian Road Safety Foundation Founder and CEO Russell White.

“Despite all the safety messages about slowing down around schools, some parents continue to speed in a rush to pick-up their kids or beat peak-hour traffic. but the consequences of this are simply not worth it.

“Sadly, we know that one in two Australians have been affected by road trauma, having either lost a loved one or known someone who has suffered permanent injury from a road crash.

“People don’t realise that speeding, even a few km/h over the limit in a school zone, can be the difference between life and death.

“We urge motorists, parents and children to remain vigilant around roads, particularly in the afternoon, and always expect the unexpected to ensure everyone has a safe first week back to school.”

Justin Hilliard
Head of Editorial
Justin’s dad chose to miss his birth because he wanted to watch Peter Brock hopefully win Bathurst, so it figures Justin grew up to have a car obsession, too – and don’t worry, his dad did turn up in time after some stern words from his mum. That said, despite loving cars and writing, Justin chose to pursue career paths that didn’t lend themselves to automotive journalism, before eventually ending up working as a computer technician. But that car itch just couldn’t be scratched by his chipped Volkswagen Golf R (Mk7), so he finally decided to give into the inevitable and study a Master of Journalism at the same time. And even with the long odds, Justin was lucky enough to land a full-time job as a motoring journalist soon after graduating and the rest, as they say, is history. These days, Justin happily finds himself working at CarsGuide during the biggest period of change yet for the automotive industry, which is perhaps the most exciting part of all. In case you’re wondering, Justin begrudgingly sold the Golf R (sans chip) and still has plans to buy his dream car, an E46 BMW M3 coupe (manual, of course), but he is in desperate need of a second car space – or maybe a third.
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