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Cllr Royden introduces safety awareness campaign for school crossings

October 11, 2010 11:57 AM
Charles Royden

Cllr Charles Royden, Environment and Transportation Portfolio Holder

Motorists in Bedford Borough are being reminded of their duty to stop for School Crossing Patrols.

Reports from Council officers show some drivers are trying to avoid stopping for patrols and displaying rude and aggressive behaviour towards children and crossing patrol officers.

To curb this worrying and dangerous behaviour, Bedford Borough Council, in conjunction with other authorities in the eastern region, is running a 'Stop Means Stop' Campaign this month aimed at educating drivers.

Although the majority of motorists respect the work carried out by Patrols, there are a small but significant number of drivers and cyclists who ignore the law.

A misconception held by some drivers, is the law only permits Crossing Patrol Officers to cross children and adults who are accompanying them. Drivers should be aware the Transport Act 2000 permits a Crossing Patrol Officer to stop traffic to cross any pedestrians - not just children.

Drivers should also be aware that Crossing Patrol Officers have the same legal authority to stop traffic at their designated sites as the police and the 1984 Road Traffic Act requires them to stop when requested to do so.

Crossing patrol officers have raised a number of driver issues in recent months, including:

· Failure to stop

· Driving around the patrol when they are on the road

· Using abusive language

· Loudly revving the engine while the patrol and children are in the road

· Stopping too close to the patrol & or nudging closer

Councillor Charles Royden, Liberal Democrat Portfolio Holder for Transport, said:

'The majority of drivers obey the law and understand our patrols are in place to help children get to and from school safely. However, it is fair to say there is an inconsiderate minority who consistently put children's lives at risk as well as intimidate and threaten our School Crossing Patrol officers.

"This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and it appals me that some drivers behave like this, simply in order to save themselves a minute or two, regardless of how grave the consequences can be.

"Drivers should remember that the crossing patrol lollypop sign has the same legal authority as a red traffic light. Therefore, failing to stop can result in a minimum of 3 points on your licence, a fine of up to £1000 and disqualification.

"I know the majority of parents and sensible individuals will wholeheartedly support our efforts to ensure school crossings are safe as well as our promise to prosecute those who think the law does not apply to them."

"I would also urge drivers to please remember, if your car journey takes you through a patrolled area please allow a bit of extra time, slow down and be prepared and willing to stop when requested to do so by the Crossing Patrol Officer.

As part of the 'Stop Means Stop' campaign, Bedford Borough Council Road Risk Advisory team will be educating drivers at supermarkets in the borough:

· Tesco, Cardington Road, Bedford on 12th October

· Sainsbury's, Clapham Road on 28th October