It’s back to school time next week. After a long summer holiday, parents will need to fit the school run into their already busy morning schedules and find a place to park so they can drop their little one off.
Unfortunately, the return to school can also mean a return to very inconsiderate and downright dangerous parking. It happens every year, with some parents completely oblivious that their parking is putting schoolchildren at risk of accident or injury.
Research backs this up. A study by insurance company AXA revealed that a third of UK parents admit to parking on school zig-zag lines.
Rule 243 of the Highway Code states that drivers must not stop or park near a school entrance.
Yellow zig-zag lines with a “School – Keep Clear” message are present at the majority of school entrances and exits, but AXA’s research revealed that less than one in five parents surveyed knew what the zig-zag lines represented. Furthermore, 20% of parents surveyed said that they thought it was acceptable to park on the zig-zags if they were “only there for a minute.”
A minute can seem like a very long time when you consider that it only takes a split-second for a collision to happen.
What are the Risks of Parking Near Schools?
The school run happens at a very busy time of day when there is a lot of traffic on the roads and other people are on their way to work.
Schools are often situated in busy residential areas and, if parents park right outside the school gates, it can make it very hard for other drivers on these roads to see where they are going.
Some parents park on the pavements on these residential streets, putting vulnerable pedestrians at risk – especially parents with prams who find they have to step into the road as they can’t get past a car parked on the pavement.
Any parent who chooses to park right outside a school should realise a simple fact: small children who are crossing the road on the way to school cannot see around, or above, parked cars and any car that blocks their way is putting them at serious risk.
Spy Cars and School Parking Campaigns
Several local authorities around the UK have started to act against the problem of parking outside schools.
CCTV enforcement vehicles are increasingly being used by councils to patrol the roads around schools and issue automatic fines to any drivers who park on school zig-zag lines.
One such initiative that is proving successful is Tyne and Wear’s Be a Smarter Parker campaign, with parents, teachers and children reporting that they have felt much safer since the ‘spy cars’ were introduced:
Technological advances such as the CCTV cars are welcome but there is no substitute for common sense when it comes to parking near schools – and realising that, if you park on pavements or zig-zag lines right outside a school so you can easily drop off or pick up your little one, you are putting the lives of other children at risk.
Jane Cooper is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in Road Traffic Accidents at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in road traffic accidents through no fault of their own. Call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.