The school run – misjudging the risks

At the beginning of the new school year many parents find themselves wondering what would be the safest way for their child to travel to school and home again. Often the vehicle of choice is the car. But many people underestimate the inherent danger posed by parents' cars as they drop off and pick up their children outside schools. The German motoring associations ACE Auto Club Europa and ADAC are therefore appealing to parents.

According to figures from Germany's Federal Statistical Office, the number of children under the age of 15 involved in accidents on German roads has almost halved over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, in 2015 alone over 28,235 children under the age of 15 were involved in accidents, 38% of them as passengers in a car and 23% as pedestrians. According to the Federal Statistical Office, most accidents involving children occur between 7 and 8 in the morning - in other words on the way to school.

Grafik des ECE zu Unfällen aufgrund des Elterntaxis

According to figures from Germany's Federal Statistical Office, the number of children under the age of 15 involved in accidents on German roads has almost halved over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, in 2015 alone over 28,235 children under the age of 15 were involved in accidents, 38% of them as passengers in a car and 23% as pedestrians. According to the Federal Statistical Office, most accidents involving children occur between 7 and 8 in the morning - in other words on the way to school.

Concerned parents often drive their children to school in the belief that this is the safest way for them to get there. But what many of them aren't aware of is that parents' cars regularly cause dangerous traffic situations outside schools, putting children at risk. Dangerous behaviour includes stopping or turning abruptly and waiting in areas where it is not permitted, blocking other road users in the process. It is also not unusual for parents to be the ones guilty of driving too quickly near schools.

At the start of the new term, ACE Auto Club Europa is therefore appealing to parents to drive their children to school only in exceptional circumstances. ADAC has made a similar recommendation. A study commissioned by ADAC and carried out by the Bergische Universität Wuppertal at over 750 primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia confirms that the less parent's cars stop outside schools, the lower the risk to children.

Instead, teach your child from an early age how to make their own way to school by bus or on foot. This will not only encourage the child to be more independent but will also train them how to be safe around traffic.

If there's no way around using the car, make sure you follow the rules below to keep your child and others safe:

  • Use a child seat and seat belt, even on short journeys.
  • Always let your child out of the car on the pavement side.
  • Drive carefully and with due consideration in the area of the school.
  • Use the designated drop-off and pick-up points – where provided.
  • When reverse parking and turning, ensure that you do not put other children at risk.
  • Think of yourself as a role model! Whether you're a pedestrian, cyclist or car driver.