There has been a crackdown on the number of drivers ignoring lollipop school crossing patrols in Dorset.
Ten drivers were caught deliberately failing to obey signals at three local schools last week, where they were reprimanded by Police Constables from the No Excuse scheme.
No Excuse were set up in January 2010, and aim to reduce the number of road traffic incidents in Dorset. They work together with Dorset Fire and Rescue, Dorset Safety Camera Partnership, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, Borough of Poole, the Highways Agency and local communities.
Project Manager for No Excuse is Brian Austin, explains the need for another campaign. “We have done it many times before, but we are doing it with more resources this time.
“It’s impatient drivers. Delaying their journey by a minute to let a group of small kids cross the roads seems unacceptable to them, which is unacceptable to us.
“It’s down to the individual’s responsibility to drive safely and plan accordingly. But if they put children and school crossing patrols at risk, we will catch them.”
It’s not just the Police who are concerned. Jill Rimmer, mum of two, agrees with this crackdown. “My eldest son is at the age where I am teaching him to cross roads safely. We often use the lollipop lady outside his school to practice. If I can’t trust drivers to stop for her signal, how can I let him eventually walk to school on his own?”
” A young boy was knocked over a couple of years ago. It terrifies me to think of my boy in the same situation.”
Although school crossing patrols are a valuable asset to local communities, councils have previously been under fire for threatening to cut funding to this service. Brian Austin spoke about measures already put in place to reduce accidents.
“A lot of the sites where the “lollipeople” actually work, councils have put in traffic isles or lights accordingly – clearly if you’ve got a red light against you, drivers should stop.
Obviously we can go out and arrest people left right and centre, but our job is to try and change their mindset, and increase their behaviour on the roads so that they are responsible for what they do.”
For further information about the scheme, click here. To report a crime, phone 101.
Take a listen to a short audio package featuring Brian Austin, Operations Manager at Dorset Police discussing the importance of school crossing patrols:
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