Figures highlight extent of parking on school ‘zig-zags’

12.00 | 16 May 2014 | | 7 comments

New figures published today by AXA Car insurance highlight the extent of the problem of parents parking on ‘zig-zag’ lines outside schools, and suggest that prosecutions for the offence are on the increase.

In the AXA study of 2,000 parents who drive their children to school, 35% of respondents said it is acceptable to stop or park on school safety zig-zag lines, and 27% admitted to doing so. 88% of respondents said they have witnessed fellow motorists stopping on the zig-zag area at least once a week.

20% of respondents said that if they were ‘just dropping off’ it is acceptable to stop on zig-zag lines, and 13% thought it acceptable if they were ‘stopping for less than a minute’.

AXA also says there is “significant confusion” about what the ‘keep clear’ zone near school entrances mean. Only 17% correctly responded ‘No stopping or parking during school run times’ when asked to define the meaning of a zig-zag line.

A FOI request to 491 local authorities (421 responded) revealed that the number of fixed penalty notices given in the past three years for parking on zig-zags has risen significantly – from 14,564 in 2011 to 28,169 in 2013, an increase of 93%.

AXA says that despite the increase, the total figure is significantly lower than the number of offences. The insurer says that “considering there are 30,000 schools in the UK, it equates to less than one ticket per school per year whereas the number of offences is expected to be far higher than a conservative estimate of 1.2 million per year”.

James Barclay, of AXA Car Insurance, commented: “These findings will strike a chord with many parents who are concerned about the safety of their children, especially during busy school run periods.

“All motorists have a duty to practise responsible driving; however, in many cases, parents can be their own worst enemies.

“Many parents may feel there is little danger in stopping or parking on zig-zag lines for a short time, however an increase in the number of parked cars near schools could affect the safety of child pedestrians.”


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    We have a petition running at Christchurch School asking for CCTV cameras to be installed in every school in the country to enable us to ensure the safety of children travelling to and from school. Please sign this petition as every signature counts!

    Clare, Erith
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    North Americans have much more strict rules around schools than the British zig zag lines. Traffic fines are doubled and passing a school bus when it is stopped to pick up/drop off children is illegal and strictly enforced. I’ve spent 15 minutes at a school drop off waiting for all the school buses to clear before any of us could move again.

    Robbie, Glasgow
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    Any parking outside schools on the zig-zags has the potential for obstructing other road users’ vision. However, many drivers do so because they consider it safer for THEIR child(ren). Some years ago there was a leaflet freely distributed amongst the school run drivers stating ‘To someone else you child is someone else’s child’. In addition, a campaign was run highlighting the registration plate number of those drivers who parked on / within the zig zags. I understand this may be happening somewhere in Mancheter. It works.

    John Bowman Essex
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    I think we got off the subject matter by mistake. We are talking here about the no parking in front of schools zig zags and not those used to prevent parking on the approach to a pedestrian crossing. By the way, it is not illegal to overtake on the approach of pedestrian crossing. It is only illegal to pass in front of the lead vehicle which is nearest to the crossing itself, either stopped or moving. On its approach to the actual crossing that is. Anything after the crossing can also be overtaken.

    bob craven Lancs
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    Bobbie – the entirely sensible purpose of zig-zag lines at pedestrian crossings is to stop vehicles parking where they prevent other drivers having a clear view of the crossing, anyone on it and anyone about to step on to it. It is for the same reason that overtaking within the zig zag lines is illegal. It’s a no-brainer.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Zig Zag lines around crossings are a peculiarly British idea, not copied, as as far as I know, anywhere else in the world. I believe they should be abolished.

    Bobbio Chiswell Green
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    As the law stands without a lawfully placed yellow sign they commit no offence as they should not park there. However with signage giving the restricted times of stopping they commit a mandatory offence. But drivers don’t know that and many believe that the restriction is for their convenience and the safety of their children.

    bo craven Lancs
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