As children return to Irish schools in the coming weeks, County Council’s Road Safety Teams will be working closely with schools to assist them with their plans for reopening, and are urging drivers to respect school wardens.
COVID-19 has changed the way we do many things and, the return to school is no different. This year, children are being encouraged to walk and bike to school to support social distancing. In some parts of Ireland, the start of school is even being staggered. As students prepare to reunite with friends and classmates after a 3-month break, many might forget to take the extra precautions needed to stay safe. This means there is an even bigger responsibility to watch for students travelling to and from school.
School wardens staff are important members of the community and play a crucial role in ensuring that children get to school as safely as possible and introduce them to the importance of road safety.
There are now more than 400 school traffic warden working across the country — all attempting to ensure that children get to and from school safely.
Whilst a lot of the road safety messages remain the same, as traffic increases and lockdown eases it is now so important that we remember the basics.
Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Communications Department, Mayo County Council says, “as lockdown starts to ease and we begin to travel more, including the journey to school, it is so important that we stay alert on our roads.”
“I am really pleased that School wardens will be able to support schools as they reopen to help protect the safety of children and their parents travelling to the site.”
Our school wardens have the same authority as a Garda to stop traffic, as set out clearly in the rules of the road.
“Failing to stop puts vulnerable road users at risk and the school wardens are instructed to report any driver who fails to stop to the Gardai and this could result in prosecution. Some council’s has also relaunched the ‘Please Respect Me’ project, aiming to educate drivers on rules around school wardens.- As part of the campaign, the council’s lollipop men and women are wearing new orange tabards bearing the ‘please respect me’ slogan-It’s important to not only raise the awareness about the fantastic work done by our school wardens, but also talk about the difficulties they face. Any case of abuse or aggression is one too many.”
Drivers who do not stop for lollipop men and women could face four penalty points and a €120 fine.
“We realise people are in a rush in the mornings and at home time, but a little bit of patience can go a long way in bringing down incidents on our roads.”
“Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of people taking up walking and cycling, which I have been really pleased to see. As roads become busier and to enable journeys by foot and bike to continue safely, it’s so important that we all take extra care on our roads.”
“I urge all road users to remind themselves and their children of the road safety messages as they prepare for the walk, cycle and the journey to school.”
Drivers can also use the following tips to ensure they are staying safe in school zones.
Source: Mayo County Council