MOTORISTS face a tough crackdown - for putting children’s lives at risk by parking dangerously outside Sheffield schools.
Police chiefs have been awarded £36,000 from fees paid for speed awareness courses to make it safer for children to get to and from school.
The cash is to be spent at around 20 schools, in areas including Gleadless Valley, Woodseats, Lowedges, Nether Edge, Jordanthorpe, Beauchief and Greenhill.
The neighbourhoods are places where local bobbies say they are ‘inundated’ with complaints about ‘irresponsible motorists’.
Launching the three-year project, Inspector Ian Stubbs - in charge of neighbourhood policing for the Sheffield South Safer Neighbourhood Area - said each school would see tailor-made plans drawn up to help deal with its specific problems.
Work is under way now to identify the issues each school needs to have resolved.
Highways engineers are also looking at the feasibility of adding more double yellow lines, zig zag markings and bollards around the schools.
As part of the project, police community support officers will run road safety courses in schools.
And The Star will be backing the new crackdown by highlighting dangerous parking at schools and challenging rogue parents who are putting pupils at risk.
Insp Stubbs said: “Road safety issues around primary schools in my area have been causing huge concern for a long time.
“Officers, the council, councillors and the MP for the area, Meg Munn, are all regularly contacted by people wanting to report inconsiderate motorists and speeding.
“It can be chaotic outside some schools at dropping-off and collecting times and, as a result, children are put at risk.”
Police had to bid for the funding from South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, which reinvests into road safety initiatives the fees paid by motorists on speed awareness courses.
“We are fortunate in this city that we have few serious collisions involving child pedestrians,” said Insp Stubbs.
“But, if we can prevent just one, we are achieving something. The ethos is educating children and their parents on road safety and making them realise the potential consequences of irresponsible actions, which can be catastrophic.
“People are so busy these days they may not think about the potential risks their parking or driving could have, so this project is aimed at changing that.
“Many parents are fearful of letting their children walk to school alone any more because of the dangers, so by creating bespoke plans to tackle specific problems at each school involved we hope to reverse that.”
Khurshid Ahmed, senior learning mentor at Nether Edge Primary School, said: “Our biggest issue is parking. If some can’t find parking they block the pavement. We have kids crossing the road between parked cars because parents ignore the markings.
“It’s very dangerous. A child could just run out. You never know what might happen.”
Insp Stubbs said previous attempts to tackle the problem had failed.
“In the past we have sent letters home and tried to educate parents to park a minimum distance away from school and to walk the rest, but it has had little effect,” he said.
“So this is a new push. The project is called It’s Your Child because it is aimed at making motorists recognise the risks they cause to their own children when they park or drive irresponsibly close to schools - it’s about making them take responsibility.”