Intelligent way to keep children safe

Two South Coast councils are trialling a new CCTV car designed to stop motorists from parking irresponsibly and keep school children safe.
The car - a Toyota IQ - is fitted with monitoring equipment and has a 15 ft high periscope mast with a camera attached.

The aim of bringing this car into operation is to prevent people parking illegally and potentially causing problems for others, especially around schools, where children are often in danger of being run over by cars which park on keep clear lines.

The specially modified car is being tested in the next few weeks by East Sussex County Council in Lewes and Eastbourne, and Brighton and Hove City Council. During the testing period, NSL - which delivers on street parking management for both those councils - will be gathering data on suspected problem parking areas in the borough, including school keep clear zones and bus stops.

In an 'Education before Enforcement' initiative no penalty charges will be issued by NSL during this time - anyone seen parking their vehicle illegally will receive a letter advising them they were committing an offence and asking them to refrain from doing it again.

In other areas, where penalty charge notices are issued to vehicles parking illegally, the rate of the fine is set at 70, which is reduced to 35 if paid within 14 days. Notices are posted to individuals who commit the offence.

The clearly identifiable car will, if adopted permanently, be clearly marked with the local authority and NSL's logos to make it instantly recognisable to members of the public.

Councillor Matthew Lock, Lead Member for Transport and Environment at East Sussex County Council, said, We get a lot of calls from head teachers about parking around the school gates being a problem and this car will help keep our children safe, and also keep our streets moving safely. Feedback we've had from other

councils where the car is used is that it's proved effective in improving pedestrian safety, reducing traffic accidents and congestion.

Brighton and Hove council recently launched a publicity campaign reminding parents not to park dangerously outside schools.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, Brighton & Hove's cabinet member for environment, said, For many schools parking around the school gates by a minority of drivers is a persistent problem. This car will be used to remind drivers to park responsibly. It will help keep our children safe, and also keep Brighton & Hove moving safely. Feedback we've had from other councils where the car is used is that it has proved effective in improving pedestrian safety, reducing traffic accidents and congestion.

This is about persuading parents and other drivers to be responsible - the CCTV car is very easy to spot and is a good reminder that it is all drivers' responsibility to follow the rules.

Tim Cowen, from NSL, added: The CCTV car has proven to be very effective in areas where you may only have traffic pressures for a short period, such as outside schools at the beginning and end of the school day.

It's not our intention to go in heavy handed. We want to be open and upfront about what we're doing. What we want to do during the trial is identify the problem areas and let people know we have this car before we start enforcing. We will be sending letters to all the schools in the area and businesses, where congestion is a problem. We're hoping that it can actually improve people's view that parking enforcement is fair because the camera never lies.
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