Road Safety News

Drivers could face criminal records over parking incidents

Tuesday 2nd February 2016

Parents who break parking regulations outside six east London primary schools could face getting a criminal record under plans from Havering Council. (BBC News)

The Council labels the current parking situation as an "imminent threat to life", and will issue motorists with £100 fines and three warnings before a criminal prosecution is sought.

From spring, a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will be set up meaning CCTV cameras will be able to identify anyone caught flouting the regulations. From here they will be able to be prosecuted.

One headteacher told the BBC that a child was recently hospitalised after being hit by a parent doing a three-point turn.

Una Connelly, headteacher of Wykeham Primary, said: “There have been a number of serious incidents involving dangerous driving by parents.

“There have also been many near misses, and we're acting before there's a fatality.

“The only way we're going to stop these parents, and it's only a very small minority, is by prosecution. This ...order, for me, is the best idea.”

The BBC report suggests that other methods to improve the parking situation include a designated drop-off/pick-up zone within the school ground and closing roads around the school at the start and finish of the day.

Speaking to the BBC, Iain Temperton, RSGB’s director of communications, said parking could help to regulate traffic by forcing drivers to slow down, and urged the council not to focus on quick-fixes.

He said: "The PSPO sounds like a short-term solution. There's always the difficulty you're going to move the problem somewhere else."

The schools involved in the scheme are: Gidea Park, Parsonage Farm, Ardleigh Green, Broadford, Wykeham and Engayne.



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When the focus turns to schools and the associated traffic/road safety problems, one always pictures or assumes we're talking about primary schools, however my local town's secondary school is just as bad, with parents delivering and collecting their teenage children in vehicles.

In doing so, they abandon all sense of civic responsibility and order and will park nose to tail on the (only) footway outside forcing peds into the carriageway and then, when ready to leave, without checking, they launch their vehicle off the kerb and into traffic. Late arrivals can also be seen hurtling down the road towards the school over the speed limit - all this in the interests of their children's safety presumably.

I can perhaps understand parents of particularly young children wanting to cocoon them from 'danger' - but ferrying teenagers to and from school?

From the age of twelve, I had to take two buses each way across Liverpool, to and from my grammar school (as did thousands of others in those days) and neither I, nor my parents, thought anything of it. Nothing happened to me, or anyone else that I can recall- it was simply the way we went to school.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

I would certainly advocate promoting the benefits of walking or cycling to work before telling parents off or fining them. However, in my experience there is always a small group of parents who will always drive as close to the school as possible. They would drive into the school and up to the classroom if they could. Some are even abusive to the Head of the school if asked to park elsewhere. As far as using parking restrictions to provide a clear area around a school or using parked cars as a cheap way of slowing traffic, I would say whatever works with the school and its particular problems - all schools are very different. The school in the BBC article shows the entrance at an end of a cul-de-sac, where speed if obviously not the concern. The proposed PSPOs must be looking at dodgy parking and dangerous manoeuvres etc. It might seem strange that in this cul-de-sac there are parking bays marked half on the road and half on the footway, right outside the school.
Jonathan Mason

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

It's not surprising that authorities reach for the stick without even considering the carrot. On my run to work I pass 3 schools and the chaos they produce on the roads. Location and facilities of schools and the grounds seem to be either by history or by design difficult to get to, transporting the problem to the surrounding area. I wonder if a bit of joined up thinking facilitating people's needs (both pedestrian, cycle and motor vehicles) may have a beneficial effect for all?
Steve Armstrong, Halifax UK.

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

I think many of us have been a little bit unfair on Rebecca from Sheffield (see below). As professionals we have lots of experience of what works and what doesn’t work, but we don’t always get our messages over very well to the public.

One message we have excelled in promoting over the years, is that the roads are such incredibly dangerous places, that any parent allowing their children to walk or cycle beyond the garden gate, must be very poor parents.

I regularly work with primary age school children on walking and cycling projects, and have met very few “suicidal” children, wanting to throw themselves under the wheels of the nearest bus. With very little training, they become far better footpath users than most adults. Unlike adults, for example, they usually have the patience to use recognised safer road crossings correctly.

Another big issue is that children arriving by car rush into class, and are prevented from talking because class has started. “Bussing” has prevented so many children from developing a decent social life. Strangers on the route (we used to call them neighbours) are all seen as potential paedophiles. Many of us no longer know who our neighbours are.

Perhaps as a profession, we should be finding ways of educating parents as to what their children can achieve. Then maybe (with my rose tinted glasses) we can see the many congestion problems around our schools reduce, as children enjoy a little more freedom.
Or do you think, as a society, we have gone too far to turn back?
Martin: Suffolk

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

Do whatever works. If PSPOs are legal in this context and then enable CCTV to be used, then by all means try it out. For schools with TROs to back up the yellow lines, it is the lack of officers (police or civil parking enforcement) available to enforce that is the problem. For most schools in our residential areas it is the pupils parents who are the drivers who create the problems as there is not much other traffic. It is not normally a lack of information for drivers. They do know better but just won’t do it. Fine them and keep fining them each time they transgress until they can’t afford to break the law. I abhor parking on pavements, especially outside schools!
Pat, Wales

Agree (14) | Disagree (5)

I participate in the school run on foot on Mondays and Fridays with my grandchildren - their school is on a busy A road. I don't know why so many parents endure the hell of delivering their children to school by car, although some might have to deliver children to separate locations a couple of miles apart in a short time frame - one child to nursery or pre-school amd the other one to school. It's certainly true that the resultant congestion results in very slow or stationary traffic - hence when neighbouring Warwickshire were discussing 20mph limits outsice schools a few years back they noted that speeds were already well below 20mph at arrival and departure times. There really ought to be enough primary schools so that children live within walking distance, but the advent of league tables means that parents clamour to get their children into the best school, which may not be the nearest school. There is some pretty bad behaviour, such as obstructive pavement parking, which sometimes results in parents using pushchairs having to enter the road to navigate the obstruction. Very occasionally PCSOs are there to issue fines or to discourage bad parking on the school driveway. Just look at this school parking row in Birmingham:
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)

As a parent I was dismayed to read your statement about this in the Metro article, the idea that parents parking and driving on the pavement - and they do set off when a child is stood right next to or infront of their car is safer than a clear road where speeds could be reduced. I am desperate for some help around my child's school as it is so dangerous. I looked up your website to see if you were some sort of pro-motoring lobby in disguise as that is what you appear to be, your statement is very unhelpful to those looking to genuinely improve road safety.
Rebecca, Sheffield

Agree (0) | Disagree (25)

I agree with David up to a point that a clear road outside a school will mean higher speeds but.. the fact that it is clear, means better visibility and less chance of a collision anyway, whereas the presence of densely packed parked vehicles in the immediate vicinity of an establishment around which there is an unusually high density of pedestrian movement, some of whom are small enough to be hidden by vehicles, does make pedestrian collisions far more likely.

Watching 'Car Crash TV' last night which showed a lot of incidents viewed from the driver/rider's point of view shows how too many drivers and riders see with tunnel vision only and do not anticipate pedestrian movement from the adjoining footways into their path.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

As part of my day job I regularly deal with all parties involved in the daily chaos outside schools problem. One thing that lots of people do not want to hear is that traffic congestion, and thoughtless parking, serve to reduce speeds in the vicinity of the school. If one has a lovely clear road outside the school then speeds will inevitably rise with the result that when a collision occurs there will probably be worse injuries.

Congestion outside schools is a problem, especially for those unconnected with the school who are just trying to go about their business, but getting rid of it is probably not what those of us in road safety want. As awful as traffic is near most schools, a quick look at collision data maps usually backs up the view that it is not a road safety issue.

Schools and parents need to think carefully about what they wish for.
David, Suffolk

Agree (27) | Disagree (1)

I don't think Public Space Protection Orders are intended for the highway, usage of which is already regulated and protected by existing legislation and therefore already enforceable. The clue is in the first line of the news story: "..parents who break parking regulations... i.e restrictions already in place via a TRO. What next.. 20 limits imposed via a PSPO?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

If, as the head suggests, the problem is dangerous driving by parents then possibly the solution is a driver awareness course set up for all parents by the police/driving schools.
Peter City of Westminster

Agree (9) | Disagree (1)

It has been stupidly suggested that the parents of Wykeham School should park in Tesco instead. Tesco is located across a duel carriage way from the school. Imagine how many near fatalities you could clock up if heards of children had to cross that road every day. Iain Temperton has a good point not to cause more trouble with "quick fixes".
Eve, Hornchurch

Agree (12) | Disagree (1)