Gateshead Council has launched a new campaign to remind motorists of the legal requirement to stop when signalled by a school crossing patrol officer.
The ‘Stop Means Stop’ campaign follows a number of near misses involving school crossing patrols (SCPs) as they stood in the road to allow people to cross.
As part of the campaign, signage is being placed on lampposts at locations that have been identified as having a particular issue, reminding motorists of the law and the seriousness of their actions if they fail to stop.
John McElroy, Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Our SCPs do a fantastic job in all weather.
“They’re there to keep children and adults safe and we owe it to them to make sure they’re kept safe doing their job too.
“Fortunately, most drivers in Gateshead follow the rules and do stop when they are meant to, but there’s a handful that don’t, and they really are putting lives at risk. We hope this campaign reminds motorists of the potential seriousness of their actions.
“Drivers need to be aware that if they see a raised lollipop stick in the middle of the road they must stop. It acts the same as a red light and if they’re caught the penalties to motorists are the same.”
SCP Michelle Philipson said: “I’ve had quite a few near misses, I’ve been clipped once on the arm and my stick has been knocked.
“It does make me feel nervous to get back on the road and it is quite terrifying when you stand there because sometimes it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop.
“Motorists need to slow down and pay more attention to the road.”
Drivers are legally obliged to obey the SCP sign under the Road Traffic Act 1988.