Motorists urged to slow down

Thursday, 5 October 2017

POLICE and the Education Authority (EA) have both issued separate appeals this week for motorists in Strabane and district to ensure that they are adhering to road safety rules when travelling on busy school routes.

The appeals follow a surge in complaints to the PSNI since the beginning of the new school year from local parents and guardians raising their concerns.

In recent weeks, the PSNI says it has received "numerous" reports of 'inconsiderate' parking outside schools.

Officers say that as well as obstructive parking, some motorists are not adhering to speed restrictions.

A warning has now been issued to motorists who flout road safety regulations that they may face prosecution.

On Monday, Strabane PSNI conducted patrols outside Artigarvan Primary School. Similar patrols were conducted at the school as well as Donemana Primary School, St Mary's Primary School, Strabane Controlled Primary School and Sion Mills Primary School yesterday (Tuesday).

Police said motorists "seemed to be largely behaving themselves" whilst officers were on patrol.

In a post on its social media site, Sergeant Brown said: "We have received numerous complaints regarding vehicles and primary schools. Clearly people are running late and driving too fast for the road conditions.

"Thirty mph might be the speed limit in some areas but it may not be appropriate in built up areas with children crossing the road etc.

"We can prosecute you for dangerous or careless driving even if you're below the speed limit!"


Sergeant Brown warned that officers will continue with 'Operation School Gate' targeting speeding motorists and irresponsible parking."This will be an ongoing operation and is specifically targeting those driving too fast, carelessly or dangerously in the vicinity of schools.

"It will also target those who seem to think they can just abandon their vehicles wherever they like- leaving your hazard lights on will not protect you from prosecution!

"There are far too many deaths on our roads and it is a priority for us to prevent these as best we can. Slow down, or face the consequences!"

The post prompted a flurry of comments from members of the public some highlighting their own concerns.

Meanwhile, one parent - who did not wish to be named - described the Melmount Road in Strabane as "chaotic" on the morning and afternoon run.

"There have already been a number of near misses this year alone and the fear is that someday a child is going to get seriously hurt or worse. Cars really do travel too fast. "Yes, it's a 30mph zone but even at times that's too fast. Others are doing more than the limit. It's a main route and there can be large vehicles and lorries also driving along as the children come and go.



"There are three school buildings along the route in close proximity and during the morning and afternoon run it's chaotic.

"It's been a problem for years and I know that from speaking to parents of other schools, theirs is no different. Perhaps by highlighting it, I hope, it will make motorists - including parents - think about where they are parking and be a bit more aware that a child could run out in front at any time."

The woman said she was glad to see that police are taking on board the concerns and patrolling the schools.

For it's part, the EA says all motorists travelling or parking near schools have a responsibility to behave safey.It added that works closely with local schools on the issue. Responding to the PSNI's comments, a spokesperson for the EA said:

"Safe parking on public roads beyond a school boundary is the responsibility of all drivers and motorists.

"The safety of our school pupils is of paramount importance and we would encourage anyone driving or parking near a school to exercise extreme caution and adhere to road safety rules and regulations."

She added: "EA works with local schools to support principals as they encourage parents to be aware of other road users and pupils and to park safely and responsibly at drop-off and pick-up times."


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