Parent Traffic Hazardous to Student Safety

Key Takeaways:

  • Nearly half of the parents surveyed report that their child walks through an area where cars are dropping off or picking up children to get to or from the school building.
  • Over one-third of parents surveyed say drivers are not paying attention and worry that their child will be hurt near the car or bus drop-off area.
  • Parents surveyed identified “drivers not paying attention” as the top school traffic safety risk, followed by speeding, parking in no-parking areas, and dropping off in the wrong location.
  • An overwhelming majority of parents (94 percent) feel that school officials should act when parents do not follow traffic rules near the school, and two-thirds of parents support the school putting up cones, gates, or other treatments to better direct traffic flow.


  • The report used a national household survey administered in April 2022 to a randomly selected group of 2,002 adults who were parents of at least one child aged 3-18. This report is based on responses from 923 of those parents with at least one child aged 6-12.


  • Safe Routes to School programs should work with schools to improve safety at pick-up and drop-off zones.  Strategies that could address parental concerns include education to increase driver awareness, engineering improvements that decrease vehicle speeds, and promoting activities that increase biking and walking to normalize that mode of travel and decrease vehicle traffic.  
  • Safe Routes to School advocates and practitioners can feel optimistic that based on the overwhelming percentages of parents supporting interventions to promote safe school travel, it is possible to find champions and supporters in their own communities.

Clark, Sarah J., Sara L. Schultz, Acham Gebremariam, Susan J. Woolford. “Parent Traffic Hazardous to Student Safety,” C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, University of Michigan 41, no. 4 (2022). Accessed November 3, 2022,

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