Ahead of the new school year, school crossing patrols (SCPs) in Ireland are being taught conflict management techniques. (The Journal)
The training – originally designed to help pub and nightclub door staff handle drunken patrons – will now help SCPs tackle what is being referred to as the ‘growing problem’ of aggressive drivers.
The scheme aims to equip more than 400 SCPs with the skills to deal with drivers experiencing road rage – and to defuse, rather than escalate, a situation.
Noel Gibbons, road safety officer with Mayo County Council, told the Journal that the course is being offered to local authorities as part of initial training or refresher courses given to new or existing SCPs.
Noel Gibbons said: “School wardens have a vital role to play. We don’t want these aggressive drivers driving them off the road.
“The courses are about learning body language and gestures which will defuse rather than aggravate the situation.”
According to Mr Gibbons, many drivers ignore a warden’s ‘Stop’ sign despite a legal obligation to halt their vehicle – ignoring the risk of a €120 fine, four penalty points, and disqualification.
He adds that stressed motorists have been known to menace wardens with their cars – by revving their engine and shouting personal abuse.
Noel Gibbons added: “We are very thankful to the majority of drivers who do stop when requested, but there are still numerous drivers who seem to think it is acceptable to speed up when approaching a crossing.
“We will not tolerate any incidents of aggression and intimidation on the roads, especially when the warden is simply trying to do their job.”