Speeding motorists outside a school in West Kirby were given a lesson in road safety directly from the pupils they were accused of putting at risk.
Drivers caught breaking the speed limit outside Black Horse Hill Junior School on Saughall Massie Road were given the choice of taking a £60 fine and three penalty points or receiving a ‘grilling’ before a special ‘kids court’ made up of four pupils from the school.
The joint initiative was run by Wirral Council’s Road Safety Team and Merseyside Police on Monday morning (November 19). During a three-hour period, 24 motorists were stopped after being clocked exceeding 37 mph in a 30 mph area. All those stopped chose to face the children rather than be fined.
Almost all who were caught said that the experience of being questioned by the children about their driving behaviour made them feel humbled or embarrassed and many said it made them more aware of the dangers than if they had received the points and a fine.
Two people were even reduced to tears – and another said it made him ‘feel sick inside’ - when the children asked them how they would have reacted to a child running out into the road while they were travelling at that speed; would they have had time to stop or avoid them?
Cllr. Harry Smith, Wirral’s Cabinet member for Streetscene and Transport, said: “I was very impressed by the way the children approached the subject, they showed maturity well above their age and were a credit to their school. They are wonderful advocates for young children who really care about their environment and road safety.
“Most of those stopped said they were going so fast as they were ‘running late’ but the children made them realise that even a small increase in speed can have devastating consequences. The harsh reality is that if you hit a child at 30mph, there is an 80% chance they will live, if you hit them at 40mph there is an 80% chance they will die.
“The overwhelming message from the children was a simple one: if we want to improve the safety and quality of life of children using roads in our communities, we need to drive at a speed appropriate to the environment,” he added.
Chief Superintendent John Martin, Area Commander for Wirral, said: “Merseyside Police is committed to making our roads safer for everyone and regularly stage road policing campaigns to educate drivers as well as to prosecute those who flout driving laws.
“We know that speeding is a significant contributory factor in road traffic collisions and we welcome initiatives that reinforce the message that speed kills, especially as the darker nights are now upon us and the weather is continuing to deteriorate.
“We hope this impactive experience of being told the consequences of their actions by children will drive home the message that motorists must reduce their speeds in a way that receiving a fine cannot and that this in turn will make our roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians.”