School Traffic Wardens
Each local authority can arrange with An Garda Sióchána for school traffic wardens to patrol places where schoolchildren 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 Gardaí and school traffic wardens are the only officials in Ireland who have the authority to stop other vehicles on public roads.
The law governing the appointment of school traffic wardens is the Road Traffic Act, 1961 (Section 96). 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 six 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 six 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, 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.
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. Wardens can generally go on working beyond age 65 if they are capable of carrying out their duties satisfactorily, as employers can now allow flexibility as to the upper age of employees.
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.
For further information on upcoming vacancies or requirements for employment as a school traffic warden, contact your local authority.