Hitting road to end bad parking

Coun Paul Watson, left, Sunderland City Council leader, and Coun James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services, with the camera car.

Coun Paul Watson, left, Sunderland City Council leader, and Coun James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services, with the camera car.

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BADLY-BEHAVED drivers beware – these men are after you.

Sunderland Council is employing a spy car to catch out inconsiderate parents, who cause problems when dropping off or picking up their children at school.

Council leader Paul Watson and cabinet member James Blackburn set the camera car off on its way for its first mission yesterday.

The marked Nissan Leaf will patrol the roads at Wearside schools to catch those parking in no stopping zones and on yellow lines, in the name of improving road safety.

Fitted with a telescopic camera, it will record footage of the hazards caused by illegal parking.

It can then return to drivers with advice on road safety, and enforcement measures – if necessary – to prevent the same from happening again.

“We hope families will regard the camera car as a re-assuring presence,” said Coun Blackburn.

“And motorists will see it as a visible reminder of important road safety messages.

“The aim of this clearly-marked camera car is to provide a very visible reminder to motorists of the road safety message that cars should not park illegally outside schools on the marked no-waiting zones.

“The footage the cameras record will be used to identify schools and areas experiencing persistent problems with inconsiderate and illegal parking, so we can take action including enforcement powers but only when necessary against those who continue to ignore the law.”

The car debuted at Ryhope Infant and Junior School.

It will now visit the five schools with the worst parking problems during its first week, which are Fulwell Infant school today; Seaburn Dene Primary and Monkwearmouth on Wednesday; Barnes Infant and Junior on Thursday; and Dubmire Primary on Friday.

It will then take up regular patrols of all the city’s schools in the months up to the summer holidays.

The car is being launched as part of the Go Smarter To School campaign by the Department for Transport, supported by the council’s 3Es road safety and parking awareness campaign – Education, Enforcement, Engineering – which aims to improve pedestrian safety.

Headteacher of Ryhope Infant School, Chris Ray, and headteacher of Ryhope Junior School, Jan Skelton, said: “We both, Ryhope Infant and Ryhope Junior School, support any measures which the council have introduced that encourage our parents to park responsibly to keep the children safe.”

As part of the initial campaign running until the summer, Parksmart leaflets have been sent out to all schools explaining how the camera car is part of efforts to make areas outside schools safer for parents and children.

Twitter: @Monica_Tunrbull