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LOLLIPOP RAGE FACES CLAMP DOWN BY COUNCILS

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Councils across England are joining forces in a bid to stamp out 'lollipop rage' and educating motorists on the imp...
Councils across England are joining forces in a bid to stamp out 'lollipop rage' and educating motorists on the importance of school crossing patrols (SPCs). With children returning to school after the Easter break next week, more and more are likely to be walking to and from school with the lighter and warmer weather and motorists need to be made aware of the law.

The `Stop means Stop' campaign, designed to provide safety to both pedestrians and local unsung heroes - affectionately known for decades as the `lollipop man or woman' - encourages drivers to realise that the STOP sign has the same power as a red traffic light. Failure to take notice can result in a£1000 fine and a three-point penalty on driving licences.

Over recent years, some councils have also found themselves up against abuse and even physical intimidation from drivers who see them as a nuisance. Examples include:

- Driving around the patrol when they are in the road

- Revving engines whilst both the patrol and children are crossing

- Driving closely to the patrol-' Swearing and using threatening language

Responding to the crackdown, David Sparks, chairman of the Local Government Association's Environment Board, said:

'Thoughtless drivers need to be reminded in no uncertain terms that they are committing a criminal offence if they fail to stop. Last year saw over 100 serious road traffic accidents on school crossings and councils will take a no nonsense approach to those who put children's lives at risk.

'It is outrageous that anyone should ignore an order that compromises people's safety. It only takes 30 seconds and surely drivers cannot possibly be in such a hurry that they are willing to risk injuring or even killing somebody.'

'Abuse will also not be tolerated. In the past councils have found themselves having to provide staff with self-defence classes and training sessions on how to tackle confrontation just to enable them to perform their jobs. They are being encouraged to note licence plates whenever an incident occurs in order for councils to take the most appropriate action immediately.'

NOTES

(1) Councils involved in the campaign include Hampshire, West Sussex, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Salford.

(2) Campaigning tools include posters, car stickers, leaflets and advertisements on billboards, local radio and bus services.

(3) Drivers are legally bound to the STOP sign by the 1984 Road Traffic Act.

(4) Traffic accident statistic provided by LARSOA (Local Authority Road Safety Officers' Association - http:www.larsoa.org.uk).

(5) The law allows SCPs to stop traffic for any pedestrian, not just children (Transport Act 2000).

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