School Traffic Wardens
Each local authority can arrange with An Garda Sióchána for school traffic wardens to patrol places where school children cross public roads. The school traffic warden’s role is to ensure that primary-school children cross public roads safely on their way to and from school.
The law governing the appointment of school traffic wardens is the Road Traffic Act, 1961 (Section 96) as amended. School traffic wardens usually work in the mornings, at lunchtime and in the evenings, when children are most likely to cross the road to go to or from school.
School traffic wardens wear a distinctive uniform (a high-visibility coat and hat). They must also carry a distinctive sign (a white disc with a red border and the word ‘Stop’ in the centre).
By displaying this sign, the school traffic warden has the power to stop the traffic to enable schoolchildren to cross the road in safety. Traffic must remain stopped as long as the warden displays the sign.
Junior traffic wardens scheme
In many places, junior traffic wardens (usually senior pupils of primary schools) work in teams of 6 to provide a similar service as the school traffic warden.
A signal requesting traffic to stop is given from both sides of the road. After traffic stops, the 6 junior traffic wardens take up their position and guide younger children across the public road. All vehicles must remain stopped until all the junior traffic wardens have returned to the footpath.
To ensure the junior traffic wardens can carry out their function properly, it is vital that they have a clear view of the road. Drivers should never stop or park in positions where they could obstruct the view of junior traffic wardens or school traffic wardens.
School traffic wardens can only stop vehicles on a public road if they are wearing the appropriate uniform and exhibiting the appropriate sign.
Under Section 96 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended, you are guilty of an offence if you fail to stop a vehicle or animal (or to remain stopped) when a school traffic warden holds up their stop sign. This offence carries an initial €160 fine and 2 penalty points. If you do not pay the fine within 28 days, the fine increases first to €240. If do not pay the fine and are summoned to court, you could be fined even more and get 5 penalty points.
Before starting their job, each school traffic warden must undergo a comprehensive training programme organised by their local authority about road safety and their duties.
School traffic wardens are paid employees of a local authority. They are generally employed on a part-time basis with a maximum number of hours per week. You can also read about retirement ages in the public sector.
How to apply
Local authorities routinely advertise for positions such as school traffic wardens in their areas. These adverts are normally carried in local or national newspapers, in parish or community newsletters or on local radio.
Check your local authority website for school warden vacancies or for more information.