Saturday, 12 September 2009

Vale council calls for courtesy at school crossings

The Vale of Glamorgan council is calling on motorists to be courteous to school crossing patrol officers, better known to generations of school children as their lollipop lady or lollipop man.

Cabinet member for planning and transportation, Cllr Jeff James, said: "On today’s busy roads, it takes special qualities to step out and stop traffic and keep the attention of children until they have crossed safely, and to come to the aid of anybody who needs help crossing.

"Most drivers are courteous and patient while school crossing patrol officers carry out their duties, but there are increased instances of dangerous driving and threatening behaviour towards our lollipop men and ladies."

The council says examples of threatening behaviour have included:
  • failing to stop at all
  • driving around the Patrol while they are in the road
  • driving too close to the Patrol
  • revving engines while the patrol officer and children are in the road
  • using abusive language
  • occasionally using physical violence
The council’ s message to all road-users is clear; when a school crossing patrol officer (SCP) steps into the road, displaying the ‘STOP’ sign, drivers must stop to allow people to cross the road.

It is an offence under the Road Traffic Regulation Act (1984) not to stop when signalled to do so by a school crossing patrol. Along with the police and traffic wardens, they are the only groups of people who are legally allowed to stop traffic on the road .

If you do not stop, the possible penalties include:
  • a fine of up to £1,000
  • three penalty points on your licence
  • disqualification from driving
You should always stop a safe distance away from the SCP and after people have crossed the road, you must not move off until the SCP has returned to the pavement and signalled you to do so.

Council road safety officer, John Rogers, said: "Drivers should always take special care when driving near schools, even if there is no crossing patrol in operation, and try, if possible, to avoid certain busy times of day when children are going to or coming out of school.

"School crossing patrol officers perform a vital duty ensuring that children and other pedestrians can cross safely when walking to and from school."


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