Pupils but the brakes on speedsters

Concerned pupils at Birchley St. Mary’s Primary School in Billinge decided to take matters into their own hands to curb the menace of speeding motorists near their school.

After talking to their local councillor, Alison Bacon, and enlisting the help of the council’s Road Safety and Travel Awareness Team and Merseyside Police, pupils and teachers embarked on a project to look at road safety near the school.  Dozens of drivers were stopped by Merseyside Police Officers when travelling towards the school at speeds over 30 mph.  They were given the opportunity of either receiving a fixed penalty or face a group of pupils and explain why they were speeding and then asked to think about the safety of children walking to and from school.  The drivers then apologised to the children.

Other motorists were stopped because they were flashing their headlights to warn drivers that there was a speed camera operation in force.  This is a criminal offence of obstructing the police whilst carrying out their duties, which can attract imprisonment of up to 1 month and a maximum fine of £1000.  Children explained to these motorists that by doing this, it would not stop drivers speeding up again after they had passed the cameras with serious consequences.

With the help of Merseyside Police, the youngsters used a speed gun to collect data on passing traffic - before taking on the role of traffic engineers to analyse the speeding problem.

Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Safer Communities and Youth Councillor Sue Murphy said: “This was a tremendous example of local empowerment – with pupils identifying the problem and then getting a vital message across. At the same time they’ve been able to apply their literacy and numeracy skills to a real-life project that helps to keep themselves and their families safe.”