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Anarchy On The School Run

By raccars Published

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A debate has been raised in the House of Commons on parking outside schools, with Labour MP, Gisela Stuart, calling for stricter enforcement of the rules. The member for Birmingham Edgbaston has called on parents to report incidences of bad driving and parking behaviour in the vicinity of the school gates.

Ms Stuart believes that parents and police can work together to enforce stricter traffic controls around schools, by taking evidence which can be used to issue warning letters or even lead to prosecutions. She suggested that while the majority of parents follow traffic rules during the school run, there are too many incidences of parents parking on pavements, on double yellow lines, across driveways and exits and generally causing obstruction with their vehicles.

Only recently insurance firm, AXA, published a report finding that 201 children are involved in an accident near schools every single week. The firm's website offers a Local Road Safety Index, that allows parents to discover information about road accident statistics within 500m of any particular school within the last five years. Previous reports have shown that at least one child was injured in a road accident each year from 2006-2011 in 37% of local school areas. During the same period, there were 85,814 children injured in total on the road within 500m of a school - an average of 1,190 every month.

The debate raised by Ms Stuart also called for areas around schools to be made exempt from a ban on CCTV cameras and camera cars. The Deregulation Bill is currently making its way through the House of Lords and includes a motion for CCTV cameras and camera cars to be banned.

Furthermore, the school parking debate also raised the issue of allowing Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to issue parking tickets around schools. Ms Stuart believes that only these kinds of harsh measures will be effective for those who insist upon flouting traffic regulations at the school gates.

The debate was supported by Robert Goodwill, the Roads Minister, who pointed the finger at parents in rural areas, claiming that widespread use of four wheel drive SUVs and other large cars in rural areas made it even more difficult for people to manoeuvre around crowded school gates. He stated that the area outside schools would be made exempt from the CCTV and camera car ban and that local authorities should be using painted zig zags and 'School Keep Clear' signs on the road.

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