Highway Code rule could land parents fines when parking up during school run

Millions of children across the UK are back to school this month.

Youngsters return to the classroom in September as the six-week summer holidays draw to a close.

Now parents have been warned as dropping off or picking up their children could be troublesome if they're not careful.

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There are many motoring laws, but one common error when parking outside the school gates could catch drivers out.

Leaving an engine running is a violation of key driving rules and would see motorists issued fines.

Known as vehicle idling, the offence is under the Road Traffic Act which could lead to £80 fines in some areas.

Graham Conway, managing director of Select Car Leasing, said: "It's a common site at schools across the land, but engine idling is something that could catch you out.

"That's because Rule 123 of the Highway Code states, 'You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road'.

"The regulation is enforced by Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which allows local authorities to issue fines of up to £80.

"Aside from the legal issue, it's also not great to be chugging out fumes close to so many youngsters – and bad for the environment to boot."

Confused.com states enforcement is still a concern with very few fines actually dished out.

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Last year, the Guardian reported more than 70,000 idling drivers through Westminster Council since 2017.

But just 63 fines of £80 were issued with only half of these actually paid by road users.

In some areas, charges are only issued if a motorist refuses to turn off an engine if told to by officers.

These drivers could escape punishment by just doing as they say when approached by officials.

Ash Young, founder of CarMats.co.uk, warned leaving an engine on could be costly for drivers too.

He explained: "The act of 'idling' is leaving a vehicle's engine running while the vehicle is not in motion, which pumps toxic carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air.

"Idling sometimes cannot be avoided, however, in many cases like waiting at the school gates, it can be prevented.

"Idling for just 10 seconds produces more fuel and emissions that contribute to climate change than stopping and re-starting your engine."

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