posted 4 years ago

Police should tackle school run chaos

Drivers call for stronger measures to tackle schools congestion

The first week of September can only mean one thing for motorists – the return of the rush hour congestion and hassle caused by the school run.

As schools across the country start a new year, a timely survey has revealed the strength of feelings on the issue – from both motorists and parents.

Two thirds of motorists are so fed up with the congestion caused by the school run that they believe stronger measures are needed to stop the problem. And one in three parents think parking around schools is so bad that police officers should be brought in to deal with it.

The majority of the 2000 drivers surveyed by vehicle remarketing company BCA want schools to create drop-off areas to tackle congestion and parking issues.  

Children in danger

Child safety was a key concern for motorists; 44% had seen parents and children opening car doors and not looking at oncoming traffic and 35% had seen children getting out of cars on the roadside rather than pavement. However, less than 25% of motorists favoured speed restrictions to solve the problem.

Tim Naylor, Editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report says: "It's clear from our survey that the stresses of the school run are getting motorists hot under the collar. Driving in the rush hour is always stressful and the school run just adds to the congestion, with many motorists seeing parents and children taking what they perceive to be unnecessary risks.”

A personal view

What is it about the school run that brings out the worst in people? In the years that my children were at primary school, I’ve seen it all – from cars speeding past the school gates to double and triple-parking in drop-off zones.  Horrifically, I even witnessed a child being knocked off his bike – thankfully without serious injury.

It’s a brave headteacher who tackles the culprits – they usually face a mouthful of abuse and the sad fact that nothing changes.

People living close to schools also suffer. There’s a popular grammar school at the end of my residential street – which means car-loads of students being bussed in by parents so focused on getting there on time that they are happy to fly over the speed bumps on the road, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their driving might be endangering other people’s children.  A colleague has a similar dilemma, with legions of Chelsea tractors going past her door each weekday to a popular private school.

What’s the answer? Mine would be a radical one – make it mandatory to walk or cycle to school, or take public transport.  Not only would it make the roads quieter, it would go a long way to tackling childhood obesity.


I stayed recently in a road with a junior school.....the utter incompetent parking/dropping off was just jaw dropping and a serious rise in the old BP. yes the police are not now responsible for parking offences.....but they are responsible for dangerous driving and driving without due care and attention....on one occasion the road was completely blocked by 3 cars parking side by side.....but the real idiot was the outside car was left running with two other children inside while the "father" ? animal looking geezer walked his son into the school taking in excess of 10 minutes to return chatting to others on way out.....he lives at the end of the road and the other school is no further than 1/4 mile.....and yes if I had done what I wanted to do it would have been me the police would have as an offender not the actual one...WHY do we allow this for Christ sake? oh by the way it is in thornton heath london

Stop squeezing the roads with pinch points near schools too

I can't remember which Prime Minister promised joined-up thinking and blamed the previous lack of it as the cause of a multitude of National shortcomings. The promised new way of doing things never happened, probably because the people who really run the country; the Civil Service and the Local, district and County Councils don't want it and/or simply could not cope with the idea of inter-departmental cooperation. The situation with the school ruch is a National disgrace and is a perfect illustration of how the lack of joined-up thinking has a knock-on effect as "improvements" in one thing invariably cause a deterioration in other aspects of life, our universe and everything. Education authorities close village and other schools and follow the fashion for centralisation to protect budgets by reaping the economy of scale is perhaps a laudable thing but doing it at the same time as massive cuts in policing and the demise of the locally-based beat officers (continuously since 1982) and huge cuts in public transport services as many were re-privatised and uneconomical routes and services had to be axed and at the same time as traffic density consequently escalated so dramatically and the cuts in road improvement programmes was all just too irresponsible. If all those "isolated" things happening together weren't enough, crime and drug-related crime especially, became a National sport which the cut-down police force and the new liberal courts seemed powerless to stop and this was all treated by the media in a way that has forever changed the perception and the fear of crime by the general population. As if all that wasn't enough an increasing influence from America is turning the British into a society of ill-mannered complainers as the consumer society is inceasingly generating an expectation culture here. School rush-hour congestion is one small part of a very wide picture that should never be taken in isolation. Another part of that picture; another thing that has helped cause the problem in no small way and needs to be considered when attempting to find a cure is the economic situation that drove an increasing number of mothers back to work and while that essentially wasn't wrong it is another reason why lots more people are under pressure and in a hurry these days. I would say the only cure to most things is to look at the wide picture and employ joined-up thinking.

Its very easy for the likes of Stan Jackson to make snide comments about the spelling of others but clearly he hasn't personally had the 'pleasure' of living in a road with a school at its main access point to the main roads network. I have and let me tell you Mr Jackson its no fun being effectively trapped in your own home for 2 hours a day every day of the week for every week of every school term.

the simple solution would be to ban them from dropping of at the schools within a certain radious and if they continue to do so should be subject to a serious fine

You have lost sight of the fact that in 95% of towns the Police no longer have any responsibility for parking enforcement, it is done by councils. It's difficult to see a solution given that kids cannot apparently walk these days, and most schools were designed without consideration of possible traffic problems as when they were built this didn't happen. Perhaps one root cause of the problem is that all the kids arrive at the same time. Maybe staggering the start times for the years might help.

I think "Alan Paul Epsom" should be positive and make the most of having a school at the bottom of his lane. He should pay them a visit, I am sure they will help him out with his terrible spelling.

How about a park and ride set up for schools. Areas outside major towns for parents to drop off and then buses to the school. Park and ride already exists for shoppers just expand them for the school run.

Schools ought to organise more bus runs to pick up school children. Still an increase in traffic, but a bit more efficient.

What about school league tables are abolished, and kids return to simply going to their local school? In the silly world of getting "little johnny" to be THE best, the core issue here has been missed! I think perhaps tackling the root cause and not tinkering around the edges is the answer myself.

I live in a norrw county lane at the bottom is a school wich is on a bus root for 2 hours a day you can not get in or out you have to go out be for 8.38 If you are out it is no good coming back be 15.45 as you can't get in the drive as they park out side and if you ask them to move you end up With a load of verball abuse

Wow. Such fierce comments so far! If parents are being irresponsible read: (naughty) then they should be handled the same way you you treat a naughty child; bad behaviour must have consequences, otherwise all the mandates, rules etc are meaningless. In conclusion, Police should enforce the rules and punish the naughty drivers!!! I hope the irony through my post isn't wasted :-)

I don't think there is any hope that people will change their behaviour, kids and parents will fatter and fatter, while their vehicles get bigger and ever more grotesque. Look at the hideous Q7 for example. Who needs to drive around in that poxy thing? But this idleness and materialism is normal for many kids today, talking of pedestrians, although walking is beneficial, most people walk so slowly, the exercise does no good at all, and the complete lack of spatial awareness makes the motorist on foot a damn nuisance to functional pedestrians. So I can't see any hope at all. Sorry.

Yes, mandatory walking/cycling/public transport etc to school. That should solve the problem of traffic congestion along with progressive road taxation, congestion charging etc. Whilst we're at it, let's make it mandatory for workers to use same methods to get to work, after all, obesity is not just a childhood problem in the UK. Let's make everything mandatory and more regulated than it already is, because we know how well increasing the legislative burden on the country sorts out all of our problems. We can divert our police away from crime solving (which they don't seem to enjoy much anyway) and put them to work issuing points, fines and community orders to parents who commit the heinous social crime of driving their children to school. Unworkable, unenforceable, unacceptable! Oh and before you accuse me of driving my children to school, we walk or use the bus - but that's because we can and choose to!

Oh my the school run nightmare! As a resident at the end of a cul de sac at which there is a school (nursery, infant and secondary) I can believe the changes in attitude of drivers when they are on the school run having been run off the road on two occasions and verbally abused for even daring to try and get on my own driveway. Its horrific. We have previously attended a residents and parents meeting organised by the local police, however when I suggested that the disused pub at the bottom of the hill be used as a park and ride, this idea was scoffed at as impossible to set up. The cul de sac is half family housing and half oap residential bungalows, impossible for the emergency services to get down for 2 hours of the day. The cul de sac is in two halves separated by a brow of a hill so that you cannot see clearly to the bottom of the cul de sac, yet parents rush down to turn around, endangering children walking to the school from the alleyway at the bottom end of the road. However it is September, winter is on the way and I work from home, finding it most amusing to watch how angry these Chelsea tractor drivers get when the get stuck on the ice at the bottom of the cul de sac. The police have been known to turn up on occasion but merely to issue warnings to the drivers who stop on the yellow zig zags, which is quite frankly useless when the worst danger is happening 100 yards further on.

I agree 100%! Walking, cycling or Public Transport should be mandatory! As you say, it might tackle the obesity problem!!