Thursday, December 6, 2012
A HARTFORD lollipop lady, who was attacked by an abusive driver, is backing a new county-wide campaign aimed alerting motorists to respecting the law ... and the person operating the school crossing patrol.
Stop Means Strop was launched last week by Cambridgeshire’s school crossing patrol service after nine reported incidents since April of drivers failing to stop or being aggressive to crossing staff.
Sylvia Coffin, pictured, who has manned the patrol outside Hartford Junior School on Mayfield Crescent for 12 years, said motorists need reminding of the law.
“We get drive-throughs all the time on this road and it’s only a matter of time before there’s a serious accident,” she said. “I had an incident where a woman went to punch me in the face. The punch hit the lollipop stick which hit me in the face.
“The police were called and the case went to court, but generally it’s very difficult to catch and prosecute these people.”
Mrs Coffin, 74, explained that in addition to failing to stop, motorists frequently drove around the patrol, hurled abuse and tried to intimidate her by revving the engine while she and the children are in the middle of the road.
Cambridgeshire County Council school crossing patrol manager, Andy Swallowe, said: “School crossing patrol officers play a vital role in ensuring school children are provided with a safe route to and from school. They should be able to do this without fear of intimidation and threatening behaviour from inconsiderate motorists.”
There were 7,000 such reported incidents across the UK in 2011, which prompted local authorities to step-up efforts to remind drivers of the potential severity of their actions.
Mr Swallowe added: “We want to remind drivers that they are required by law to stop at crossing patrols.
“If they fail to do this they can be fined up to £1,000 and receive three penalty points. In cases where the driver has been in their vehicle and behaved in an anti-social manner the police can issue a Section 59 notice which can lead to the vehicle being seized.”
As part of the campaign 6,000 car stickers, leaflets and posters will be sent to all reception year children in the county.