Children’s safety is the focus of a pilot scheme that will see 20 mph zones introduced around a number of schools across the borough of Croydon.
The £200,000 Croydon council project will encourage drivers to slow down on short stretches of road outside schools. The restrictions will be limited to certain times of the day, indicated to drivers by electronic signs.
A number of new zebra crossings are also being proposed as part of the Transport for London-funded scheme.
“Before any of the work is carried out, the council will be seeking the views of schools, parents and local residents” said a Croydon spokesperson.
“By making it safer to walk to school the council is also aiming to get more children walking or cycling as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“The selected schools are largely amongst those which have identified, in their formal travel plans, the speed of nearby traffic as being a problem. “We have also done our own surveys to identify suitable locations where this approach is likely to prove effective.”
Cllr Phil Thomas, cabinet member for highways and environmental services, said: “Most drivers are aware of how the chances of serious injuries to children are significantly reduced by cutting speed.
“But it’s not always obvious when a school might be nearby, so these zones will act as a reminder to slow down and take more care.”
The locations chosen for the project are:
Ark Oval – Cherry Orchard Road
Chipstead Valley – Chipstead Valley Road
Harris Academy Purley – Pampisford Road
Monks Orchard Primary – The Glade
Regina Coeli -Pampisford Road
St Thomas Becket – Birchanger Road
Wolsey Junior – King Henry’s Drive
(Source: Croydon council press release)
FROM I-SPY TO I-PAD
Parents have switched from ‘I-Spy’ to ‘I-Pads’ as in-car entertainment for their children, reveals the AA as research shows children are 12 times more distracting to drivers than mobile phones.
AA-Populus research shows that nearly a third (30 pc) of drivers said their parents played games like I-Spy to keep them entertained on long car trips.
But this halved to 14 pc when asked what they did as parents to keep their own children entertained on car journeys.
Modern parents turn to technology to keep their children or young relatives entertained in the car with six per cent saying they use hand held electronic games or watch DVDs.
“Three per cent let the children play on smart phones and two per cent rely on watching television through a tablet or PC” say the AA. (Source: AA press release).
IMPROVING YOUNG DRIVERS CONFIDENCE
Road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists are working with Enfield council to encourage young people to improve their driving.
Drivers under 26 who live, work or study in Enfield now have the opportunity to take up the IAM’s Momentum assessment for free.
Momentum is designed for 17-26 year olds who have passed their basic driving test, and incorporates two modules: an interactive online assessment, followed by an on-road session with an IAM examiner.
Momentum does not involve an exam and there is no risk of failure; it offers a quick option for young drivers to improve their confidence, awareness and safety.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “This partnership is a fantastic example of the way councils can work with voluntary organisations to provide services which would otherwise be difficult to provide amidst sizeable budget cuts.
“Enfield council recognises the importance of safe driving and the safety of young drivers. So why not make your new year’s resolution to become a safer driver?”
Cabinet member for environment at Enfield council, Cllr Chris Bond said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for young drivers in the borough to further hone their driving skills and make themselves even safer on the roads.”
THE LAUNCH of the new scheme follows figures from the IAM showing young people are more likely to be involved in car accidents.
“The current way we train new drivers is clearly failing to produce safe and law abiding motorists, particularly men” said an IAM spokesman.
“A total of 30,850 male drivers aged 20 or under have up to six points on their license, according to data released by the DVLA.
“This compares with only 9,758 young female drivers with up to six points on their licenses.”
During 2012, young drivers were involved in a fifth of all collisions where someone was killed or seriously injured.
Yet younger drivers only account for eight per cent of all full driving licence holders in Great Britain, they also drive, on average, about half the distance of older drivers each year.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Such high numbers committing a wide range of offences demonstrates the inability of our current system to deal with the attitudes and lack of experience which put new drivers at such high risk on the roads today.
“The government is currently working on a green paper for young drivers and this must better address the content and process of learning to drive so that our roads are safer for all road users.” (Source: IAM press releases)
ENGLISH COUNCILS MAKE ALMOST £600 MILLION FROM PARKING
English councils have made another record surplus from their parking activities, say the RAC Foundation.
In 2012-13 councils generated a combined ‘profit’ of £594 million from their day to day, on and off street parking operations – a five per cent increase on the 2011-12 figure of £565 million.
These figures compare to a nine per cent fall on overall spending on local roads over the past three years with road safety expenditure down by as much as 20 pc, say the Foundation.
The figures for the five boroughs which include or border upon Crystal Palace sghow that parking surpluses before capital charges were:
Bromley: £5.68 million (24th overall)
Croydon: £2.58 million (58th overall)
Lambeth: £12 million (7th overall)
Lewisham £ £4.88 million (29th overall)
Southwark: £1.63 million (95th overall)
Some of the five boroughs have seen their figures go up and down over the last four years. While Bromley’s and Lewisham’s income has steadily increased, Croydon’s has risen slightly in the latest figures but is far less than the £6.37 million it received in 2009 -10.
Lambeth’s figure in 2009-10 was £1.54 million, Southwark’s figure for 2009-10 was £4.08 million.
The RAC Foundation say that although not all councils made a large surplus, very few lose money on their parking activities. Just 52 (15pc) of the 353 parking authorities in England reported negative numbers.
The figures are calculated by adding up income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs.
Even after allowing for capital charges (interest and depreciation), the combined surplus in 2012-13 was still £460 million, a 12pc increase on the £412 million figure for 2011-12.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“It is a case of déjà vu. “Once again English councils have made record amounts from parking. “Yet overall spending on local roads has fallen by nine per cent over the past three years with road safety expenditure down by as much as 20 pc.
“The government’s recent decision to consult on changes to parking rules and regulations is timely and we have always argued that at the very least all councils should publish an annual parking report to explain how much money is collected from drivers and, just as importantly, where that cash is going.
“It might be that some of the extra ‘profit’ has arisen because councils’ costs for running parking services have been reduced but drivers need to know this.
“Council budgets show the surplus for the current year is set to be higher still.” (Source: RAC Foundation press release)
END OF CAR TAX TRANSFER
From October 1st this year car owners who want to sell their vehicles privately will be unable to offer the ‘unexpired tax’ incentive to potential buyers, warn the AA.
The proposed switch from relying on the display of a paper tax disc to a solely electronic record will end the transfer of the balance of car tax to the car’s new owner.
With 2.73 million used cars sold privately in 2012, the proposal is intended to protect buyers who may be misled on the vehicle’s tax status, say the AA.
“Without a tax disc in the windscreen, it would become more difficult for a buyer to verify a seller’s claims, and the value of the vehicle” they add.
The non-transferability of VED (car tax) forms part of the cost-cutting measure ending the tax disc requirement, which dates back to 1921. The clause in the draft Finance Bill 2014 is being consulted on by the DVLA.
The AA says it supports the switch from a paper tax disc to a purely electronic system, enforced by real-time records and ANPR detection
But Paul Watters, head of AA public affairs, cautions there are potential obstacles and the current transferability of car tax is one of them.
“It is good that reliable, real-time records now exist which have made the tax disc largely redundant.
“But when it is abolished in 2014 the sting in the tail will come with unexpired months of tax no longer being transferable to a car’s new owner.
“Millions of motorists are familiar with the tax disc and having months to run on it can sometimes be a deal maker or breaker for someone looking to buy or sell a car privately.
“Instead, the balance of tax will be cancelled (for a refund from the DVLA) and the new owner must buy new car tax.
“This will be an added inconvenience for motorists who are changing vehicles, but we appreciate that this is to ensure that no-one is unknowingly put at risk of driving an untaxed vehicle.
“The Government should also consider looking at the current refund arrangements – at present refunds are only given for complete unexpired months, leaving many more drivers to lose out if a disc is cancelled early in a month.
“The plan to also introduce the option of paying car tax (VED) by monthly direct debit was welcomed by 55pc of members in an AA-Populus poll as they think it will make motoring budgeting much easier.
“But the five pc surcharge for allowing this may not be so popular.” (Source: AA press release)