@ Road pricing is long overdue and the only clear solution
"Road pricing is long overdue and has been advocated by transport experts for decades. The problem is that the government won't accept their advice because it's politically difficult. When combined with hypothecation of revenues (as is the case in London), and replacement of fuel tax, it ought to be politically acceptable - alternatives to the car will become better funded, leading to more use, more revenue and thus a beneficial cycle. The current fuel tax 'solution' leads to the ridiculous situation that someone driving through an uncluttered country road pays the same tax as someone driving through the centre of a congested city - with all the externalities that causes."
No, it doesn't.
If the country road is clear, then the driver will be doing around 60mph, the almost perfectly fuel efficient speed (IIRC, that is 56mph). However the person in the congested town will be driving slower, sometimes be stopped, be involved in stop/start driving and lots of gear changes, all of which will use more fuel and so they will be comesurately taxed.
Similarly, if the drive into town is done earlier/later, when the roads are less congested, you'd use less fuel and be taxed less.
As for the school run, as many have said, have dedicated buses (a la the USA), which negates that need. Personally, I walked to school for my entire primary school years, with my older brother from the age of 6/7, which was in Surrey and involved crossing a major A road - however, we used the pedestrian crossing, which made it safe to do so.
The reason the roads around school are so dangerous is because of the number of parents who cant trust their children to get to school on their own - you yourselves cause the problem you are seeking to avoid by driving. Here in central Edinburgh, the most prevalent school kids on the buses are from the private schools, the ones going to the state schools get driven by parents; makes you think.
Yes, roads are dangerous, so why don't we teach children not to walk on them ?? I seem to remember that that was the thrust of advertising when I was a kid (Darth Vader as the green cross code man, Tufty club etc etc).