The behaviour of Winnipeg drivers is worrisome in school zones, with many drivers observed on Thursday speeding, eating, texting and applying makeup.

CAA Manitoba held its second annual school safety zone assessment, using teams of observers between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. CT stationed in three school zones — Archwood School (St. Boniface), Carpathia School (River Heights), and Ecole Lacerte (Windsor Park) — to record instances of risky driving behaviour.

In that period, they found 1,050 examples of distracted and risky driving. 


CAA Manitoba spokeswoman Liz Peters, and CAA Manitoba CEO Mike Mager make notes on passing vehicles at Archwood School. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

In addition to the offences already noted, some drivers were spotted running red lights and being involved in near-collisions.

Jack Fraser, principal of Archwood School on Archibald Street, said he hopes the scrutiny will raise public awareness of safety in school zones.

"Someone shared a nice little catchphrase with me the other day, 'Don't make my parents worry because you're in a hurry.'  And I thought that was sort of an appropriate phrase for this particular stretch of road," he said.

"This stretch of traffic is an awful lot of stop-and-go at rush hour so I think people are flipping out their cell phones and so on while they're waiting and then when they start up again they're still talking on their cell phones."

Liz Peters, CAA Manitoba's public and government affairs manager, said it's not just drivers of cars that are being careless.

In a span of 10 minutes, she counted five cyclists riding on the sidewalk.

"One guy actually just came by, no hands on the handle bars, which isn't illegal but completely not safe," she said.

"And if there's a whole bunch of kids in the school safety patrol coming back and forth across the street and that guy's riding by, he's going to cause a hazard just as much as a car would."