Road Safety News

School banner campaign targets irresponsible drivers

Wednesday 21st January 2015

The Harrogate District Road Safety Group has launched an awareness campaign reminding drivers of the dangers of illegal and irresponsible parking outside schools.

The group says traffic congestion, caused by parents parking their cars while they drop off or pick up their children, is a long-standing issue for many schools.

To highlight the seriousness of the problem, the group has produced three banners with the messages: “Stopping on the zig zags is Selfish & Dangerous”; “School Keep Clear – No Stopping – No Excuses”; and “School Keep Clear – Don’t Stop Here”. 

The banners are being displayed outside schools in a bid to make drivers think about where they park and the potential risk that it may cause to children and other road users.

Parents are also being asked to sign a parking pledge agreeing not to park where there are restrictions, but instead to park where it is safe for children to get into and out of the vehicle.

Sandra Langley, head teacher at Holy Trinity Church of England Infant School in Ripon, said: “We are very pleased with our new eye catching banner and hope that it will make a difference to the safety of our children.

“We have run several campaigns and sent information in our newsletters, I am hoping that the banner will have a real impact.”

Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: “This campaign will raise awareness of this issue and hopefully make drivers think about their actions and the potential consequences for other road users and pedestrians – including children.

“The campaign will also provide the perfect opportunity for schools to discuss the issue of road and car safety with pupils which will raise their understanding and in turn raise awareness with their parents.”

Harrogate District Road Safety Group
The group includes representatives from Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council, the police, fire and rescue service, ambulance, neighbourhood watch and the voluntary sector.



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Parked vehicles on residential roads 'slowing' passing traffic is a bit of a myth. I recall doing speed checks outside a school on a residential road which had its fair share of parked vehicles and the fastest speed (way over the 30) was one of the school staff late for work. 'Parked cars..hazard..exercise caution' was not uppermost in her mind - not being late was.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

The problem with the congestion and impatience you can see around any school gate is not so much that children are injured there - data analysis shows that this isn't the case - but the perceived risk means that many parents do not allow their children to walk or cycle to school but deliver them there by car instead. This adds to the apparent mayhem and congestion, increases emmissions around concentrations of children and removes the health benefits of walking or cycling. Which is why it matters and needs to be addressed.
Honor Byford, Team Leader, Road Safety & Travel Awareness, North Yorkshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (2)

Apparently the seriousness of the problem is "congestion" and not the safety and casualty reduction issues. If traffic has to go slowly past a school entrance because of congestion will not any incident be low injury compared to faster traffic on a free flowing road?

I can live with 10 minutes of congestion at the start and end of the school day if there are no injuries. What I cannot accept is the parent who parks, insists on talking with the teacher then spends another 20 minutes having a school gate conversation and when challenged says they need to drive as they have busy lives and have to go on to work. It ain't going to go away until all schools are boarding schools and then the school run only appears at each end of the term! And that won't happen!
Peter Westminster

Agree (4) | Disagree (4)

I passed no comment on the efficacy of this approach - the "school gate parking" problem has proved amongst the most intractable. Enforcement or the threat of it is almost invariably considered part of the solution so that the benefit of avoiding a penalty becomes part of the decision-making process. However, few locations are patrolled often enough for the threat to be truly effective.

While your new suggestion has some technical merit there are obvious flaws, such as it being a punishment on the child when the parent has the overiding control, and perhaps more importantly, that school trips are still part of a child's education which should not lightly be denied them.

It does fascinate me though, that while the whole thing must boil down to brain function, some cultures seem better-disposed to this kind of social order than others. This leads me to believe that conditioning can make distant and obscure benefits score more highly, presumably by making compliance trigger self-esteem. A natural first step in this would be to establish a socially desirable norm, and that appears to be what this campaign is about.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

Thanks for that Tim although it seems that by the criteria you have pointed out the above campaign seems to fail on all counts.

How does the following fit in with your observations on near and clear interests?

"Any child that is dropped off or picked up by a car in the zig-zag zone will not be allowed on any school trips this year".

That might make the little ones sit up and take notice!
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (2) | Disagree (9)

Well Duncan, at the risk of over-simplifying, the children fall into two broad categories: those who are the beneficiaries of their parents' parking behaviour, and those who are its victims. A common theme which underpins a lot of road safety practice is getting people to ask the question "is it in my interest to do the thing I'm being asked to do?" In answering this question studies have shown that factors which are near and clear score higher than factors which are distant and obscure. So what you are asking for is for children to pester their own parent to stop doing something which both they and their parent perceive beneficial so that other people may benefit instead. A tall order which a layman might regard as a matter of simple self-interest. But perhaps there is a scientific explanation which might give us insight into how the brain could be manipulated into prompting different behaviour?

On the subject of policing, my understanding is that Civil Enforcement needs the relevant signed and lined traffic order but the Police do not. They do however tend to prefer to enforce where signs and markings are in place because these strengthen the case that the subject of their enforcement should have considered whether in waiting there they would be considered to be causing an obstruction.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)

Can't believe that there are so many people disagree with my little observation. Pester power has long been used by manufacturers and retailers to sell lots of stuff to parents so why can't it be used to solve this particular problem?

The educational establishment regularly use these methods to get the kids to harp on to their parents about recycling or the perils of global warming and that's considered to be perfectly OK. Use the same techniques to save their little lives however and suddenly that's not OK?

If little Johnny refuses to get out of the car on the zig-zags then his designated driver will be forced to go and park up properly.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (1) | Disagree (11)

In practice yes, but as there's no entitlement legal or otherwise, to park on the highway, I don't see why an officer couldn't take action if he/she was satisfied that it could trigger an accident.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

All vehicles parked on the road cause an obstruction, the offence is when that obstruction is deemed to be unnecessary. I hear so often the same happening outside schools with zig zags but the police cannot act upon the required legislation without the installation of notices. It's as simple as that.
Bob craven Lancs Space is Safe Campaigner.

Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

...unless you were deemed to be causing an obstruction Bob!

Interestingly, I wonder if a police officer would ever take action if he/she thought a vehicle was so badly parked outside a school that it could be a hazard, regardless of any markings. Having to justify it in Court may be the reason not to.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

I can only imagine that whilst there are zig zags there are no lawfully placed 'no waiting' signs. Even I could park there as long as I want if there are no lawfully placed signage telling me otherwise.
Bob Craven Lancs Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

If it's so dangerous why don't the kids refuse to get into or out of the car if it's parked on the zig-zags? If they could all be persuaded to do that then the problem would soon go away.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (4) | Disagree (22)