Drivers who exceed the speed limit outside some primary schools will be given the option of facing a grilling from the kids about their actions – instead of paying fines, receiving points on their licence or attending a speed awareness course.
Children in some primary schools in London and other regions including Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire and Northumbria, are taking part in ‘Junior Roadwatch’ speed awareness sessions with the police near their school.
Under the schemes, drivers who are caught speeding are pulled over by police officers. Those deemed suitable are given the option of speaking to the children instead of facing traditional penalties for speeding. Drivers choosing to face the kids will have to answer questions such as 'Why do you think the speed limit is 20mph on this road?' and 'Are you aware of the consequences of speeding?'
It is hoped that being confronted by children will encourage drivers to think twice about breaking the speed limit.
Some schools and police forces are taking a slightly different approach. Children from Morley Victoria Primary School in Leeds used speed guns to help police catch drivers who exceed the limit. These drivers were then sent speeding tickets drawn by the pupils, reminding them to slow down.
Tackling child road safety
The schemes are part of efforts to reduce the shocking number of children who are hurt or killed in road collisions in the UK. In 2017, 48 children died and over 15,700 children were injured. In London, where the child-led road policing schemes started, over a thousand children have been injured in collisions travelling to school over the last three years.
Inspector Tony Mannakee, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “Excessive speed unfortunately remains a common cause of serious and fatal collisions across London. We hope that pupils engaging with motorists caught driving dangerously outside their schools will make them consider the implications of excessive speeds and encourage safer driving behaviour.”
Junior Roadwatch sites in London are chosen based on community concerns around speeding or data on injuries and collisions. Pupils from Our Lady Immaculate Primary School in Surbiton are among those who have taken part in the scheme.
Charlotte and Matthew, both in year 6 at the school, said: 'As part of Junior Roadwatch we test the speeds of cars and question the drivers who are going too fast. In an hour and a half, we caught 32 people speeding outside our school. That's not good enough and we are shocked the number is so high. We want to be able to walk to school safely and not worry about speeders so adults should slow down.'
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