Sun-Herald - Sunday 6 November 2005

No mercy for parking at schools

By Alex Mitchell

Local councils should tell their parking inspectors to take a "zero tolerance" attitude to motorists who park illegally near schools because it places children's lives at risk, say leading school and road safety bodies.

And rangers should also be encouraged to use "covert methods" to nab repeat offenders.

Willoughby Public School deputy principal Julie Organ supported the tough approach saying that when rangers were visible around schools, motorists took notice and behaved lawfully.

But when council rangers were not patrolling school zones, parent drivers "take unnecessary and dangerous risks affecting the potential harm of our students", Ms Organ said.

NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations president Sharryn Brownlee said: "Child safety around schools is paramount, yet at some schools illegal parking is at epidemic proportions.

"The notion that illegally parking for only a few seconds will cause no harm is utterly untenable. Tragedies take a millisecond.

"Line of sight around schools is critical to both motorists and pedestrians. When vehicles obstruct that line of sight, tragedies occur, particularly with small children, who are so difficult to see."

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said: "Claims that councils are revenue-raising around schools are utter nonsense. Parents and carers who risk children's lives . . . deserve to have the book thrown at them."

Roads and Traffic Authority data show that 1378 primary school-aged children were killed or injured on NSW roads from 2000 to 2004, half of them during school travel time.

Mr Scruby said: "If parents see the rangers, they park legally. This is not a game of hide and seek. It's about protecting our children."
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