Improving road safety for children in Newton Abbot
By ExeCellent | Monday, January 07, 2013, 19:49
A CAMPAIGN TO improve road safety and to tackle problem parking in Newton Abbot has recently been rolled out, in a bid to help teach people to keep children safe, seen and aware…
Teaching road safety in Newton Abbot (top row, L-R): Teignbridge District Council Civil Enforcement Officer John Wales, Decoy Community Primary School head teacher Gill O’Neill, Police Community Support Officer Debbie McCaffery and Teignbridge District Council Civil Enforcement Officer Simon Lee with Decoy school children
Teignbridge District Council's Civil Enforcement Officers have been out and about at local primary schools, handing out Children's Highway Codes and guides for their parents, and ensuring motorists are not parking on the yellow zig-zag lines at primary schools.
The initiative is part of a wider campaign to make sure schoolchildren are kept safe and parents know the law.
The campaign follows the introduction of new traffic orders and signs which make zig-zags at primary schools enforceable.
Teignbridge District Council's Civil Enforcement Officers will do the enforcement work on behalf of the County, and will be supported by local policing teams in raising awareness of the rules and taking action.
Officers, along with local representatives from Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police, recently visited Decoy Community Primary School in Newton Abbot to talk about road safety matters.
They handed out 'Be Bright' leaflets, reminding the parents and children about being seen by wearing high-visibility clothing while they walk to and from school in the winter.
Officers included Police Community Support Officer Debbie McCaffery, who is based in Newton Abbot Police Station and represents the Town West area in the Neighbourhood Policing Team. She said: "By working in partnership together, I believe that we can make it a safer environment for the children to arrive and depart from the school grounds. It already has had a real positive effect, with lots of lovely comments from the parents."
Gill O'Neill, the head teacher of Decoy Community Primary School said: "Initiatives like this are really helpful to us because not only do we have problems with people parking on the zig-zag lines, they also reverse their cars across them which is incredibly dangerous. We are worried that it's just a matter of time before a child is hurt outside our school."
Teignbridge District Council Deputy Leader Cllr Stuart Barker is the Executive member for assets and resources which includes responsibility for car parking. He said: "This is another step in a long-term campaign in making sure children are kept safe and motorists are abiding by the law.
"Most motorists are unaware that parking or stopping in a zig-zag area is illegal at all times. Zig-zag lines are designed to keep school entrances clear to provide maximum visibility for children, parents and motorists.
"Our officers are currently giving out vital safety messages and providing advice to motorists while they are out on patrol. After this initial period, those who ignore the regulations could end being booked.
"Teignbridge works closely with the police and with our colleagues at Devon County Council to make sure everyone parks legally and responsibly.
"To date we have been very widely welcomed at the schools in Teignmouth and we have already seen the positive benefits of the campaign in Newton Abbot.
"For the first time we had more people walking than driving to the school and the PCSO on duty was making people move on where we were unable to. The road was kept clear and a lot safer – exactly the result we wanted.
"Going into schools to explain to children what we are doing is a great way of making them aware about it from an early age. We will be issuing warnings to drivers who contravene the regulations and if we have to, issue Penalty Charge Notices but from our point of view this work is another educational tool for children, drivers and parents."
Loud and clear
Devon County Council's Cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, Cllr Stuart Hughes, said:
"It's encouraging to see that this campaign is achieving results. The message is loud and clear – parents, the local authorities, and schools want children to be safe on their journey to and from school. We're committed to maintaining the safety of young children, particularly outside the school gates, and we need everyone to work with us on this."
Teignbridge District Council works with Devon County Council to enforce all on street parking and waiting restrictions, but it it also offers support to places that need a little extra help.
Teignbridge offers parents limited parking in selected car parks at the beginning and end of the school day. The arrangement, agreed with schools where parking issues have been identified as having problems, allows parents to display a permit in their vehicle so Civil Enforcement Officers know they are collecting their children.