02 May 2008
School crossing patrol staff will soon be carrying lollipop signs with inbuilt video cameras as councils crack down on incidents of 'lollipop rage' from motorists.
An estimated 1,400 incidents were reported to councils last year, with dozens of staff hospitalised after being hit by cars, the Local Government Association said.
The number of incidents is rising, even though traditional lollipop signs have the same legal force as red traffic lights, and drivers who fail to stop face fines and penalty points on their driving licences.
David Sparks, chair of the LGA transport board, said: 'It's unbelievable that we have to take this action, but the lives of children are at risk from increasing numbers of drivers who are so selfish that they are willing to put lives at risk by refusing to stop for 30 seconds at a school crossing.'
Abuse and intimidation of lollipop men and women would not be tolerated, he added.
Don MacDougall, principal road safety officer at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, which has ordered the new signs, made by private firm Routesafe, said they would provide evidence to support prosecutions and act as a deterrent.
'Unfortunately, these incidents appear to be on the increase. It's not just drivers who refuse to stop, but also those who rev their engines, shout abuse and make our staff feel unsafe,' he said.
'Only a handful each year end up in prosecutions because it's usually just one person's word against another. The video evidence will obviously provide much stronger evidence.'