GYMPIE children on their way to and from school are being put at risk by the careless driving behaviour of a minority of parents, police say.
Presumably their children’s safety is paramount in their minds, yet outside schools, it’s parents who are often the worst culprits when it comes to flouting school zone traffic rules and disobeying street signage.
Crossing double lines, double parking, calling young children to cross the road unaccompanied, talking and texting on mobile phones and speeding in school zones – a litany of traffic offences is being committed every day outside schools by motorists as they drop off and pick up their children.
Gympie Police Traffic Branch, Acting Sergeant Chris Watson said there had been an increase in complaints from various schools over the past week or so and police will be targeting these offences in marked and unmarked cars.
“Drivers need to be more mindful of traffic rules,” Sgt Watson said. “It’s often people who should know better. You can only warn them so many times.”
He said police will clamp down on traffic infringements that are clearly life endangering around children, who are often still learning about road safety.
At the start of the year with the preps commencing school, everyone tends to be on their best behaviour, he said.
As the year progresses however, time-pressed parents become more and more careless and near-misses are all too frequent.
Sgt Watson said as the end of term approached children were “hitting the wall” so it was important that drivers were alert for children walking, cycling and crossing the road and remember that all parents count on motorists’ care and courtesy to ensure children are safe when travelling to and from school.
Kassandra Cain, president of St Patrick’s Parents and Friends Association, said the problem of some parents disregarding traffic laws was addressed at a recent Parents and Friends meeting.
A very small minority were doing the wrong thing, she told The Gympie Times yesterday but one incident was one too many.
Mrs Cain said a high school student was almost hit last week because a driver disregarded road rules.
“I urge all parents to exercise caution and care when driving near all schools and please use some common sense and patience.
“I hope it doesn’t take a student being injured — or worse — before drivers start taking more care.”