Drivers urged to obey traffic rules as students return to school

With students packing their bags to return to school this week, it is timely to remind all road users to be vigilant and take extra care when driving and parking in school areas.

Lake Macquarie City Council’s Manager Asset Management, Helen Plummer, said illegal parking near school zones is a major contributor to road safety complaints near schools.

“Parents disobeying parking signage is one of our biggest road safety issues around schools, and it puts our community, in particular, children at risk,” Ms Plummer said.

“Often drivers can feel rushed during the busy school drop-off and pick-up periods and this can lead to inadvertently parking illegally.

“If a pick-up or drop-off area is full, or if you need to park and there are no spaces available, look a little further along the road for a park and walk to pick up your children.”

Council is encouraging road users to allow enough time for school drop-offs and pick-ups, obey all parking signs and to adhere to the speed limit within the school zone to avoid unnecessary risk and fines.

Parking restrictions near schools designed to protect children and pedestrians include:

·        ‘No Stopping’ zones – you must not stop your vehicle at any point on the road or kerb;

·        ‘No Parking’ zones – you must not leave your vehicle parked or unattended. You may stop in a No Parking zone for a maximum of two minutes to immediately pick up or set down your child and drive off as soon as possible;

·        ‘Kiss and Ride’ zones – some schools have ‘kiss and ride’ or ‘drop-off and pick-up zones’ for children in ‘No Parking’ zones. If your school has a program in place, remember to always drop off or pick up your child from the designated zone and follow the school’s procedures. You can stop in a kiss and ride area for two minutes only to pick up passengers and you must stay within three metres of the vehicle;

·        ‘Bus Zone’ – you are not allowed to stop your vehicle in this area;

·        ‘Mobility Parking’ – only vehicles transporting a current Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) permit holder can park in areas displaying a mobility parking sign. The MPS permit must be displayed in the parked vehicle. MPS permit holders must comply with the conditions of use of the MPS permit; and

·        Pedestrian and children’s crossings – you must not stop within 24m before and 15m after a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing.

Council Rangers are patrolling local schools and issuing fines for breaches and offences to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all school students, particularly younger children.