Drivers caught exceeding the 30mph limit outside Anahilt Primary School near Lisburn were faced with a tough choice.
Speeding motorists were grilled by a panel of children in a ‘Kids Court’ cutting right down to the quick of their consciences and were asked “Why were you speeding” and “Were you aware you could have hit a child?”
The ‘judges’ were pupils at Anahilt Primary School and drivers who exceeded the 30mph limit yesterday (Tuesday, March 6th) were given the chance to explain to the children why they were speeding – the alternative was receiving a penalty points and fine. As well as being asked why they were speeding they were also grilled on a number of questions about road safety.
Const. Jacky McDowell said: “Police have been working alongside teachers and staff of the school in order to educate the pupils in road safety. As part of this education pupils have participated in projects which highlight the dangers of excessive speed for Road and traffic conditions, making them aware of their own vulnerability and responsibility, when near a road.
“This has resulted in their participation in educating drivers who have exceeded the speed restriction outside their school, as to the potential of what could have happened, this has personalised the message to those drivers that have agreed to meet with the pupils. The goal of the project is to change driver behaviour through this experience of personally meeting with the pupils.
“This isn’t about trying to catch people out… it’s about making our roads safer for all who use them, whether they are children or adults and whether they are pedestrians, cyclists or motorists.
“A car travelling at 30mph takes twice as long to stop as a car travelling at 20mph. And if you are hit at 20mph you are a lot less likely to be killed or seriously injured than if you are hit by a car travelling at 30mph. As far as I am concerned, safety is paramount on our city’s roads, so our message is loud and clear: slower is safer.
“And while anyone breaking the speed limit can expect to be pulled over by the police, this campaign is also about educating people about why this 30mph limit is safer. We will be encouraging them to think about their behaviour on the roads and if they have not already done so, to change it for the benefit of all.”
School principal, Mr. Richard Reid said: “It has been a very positive experience for us as a school to have taken part in this initiative. We take the responsibility for educating our pupils about road safety very seriously and the opportunity to work alongside the PSNI and PCSP has been of great benefit to the pupils.
“The issue of road safety outside our school is something we are acutely aware of and this initiative has served to both reinforce the work covered in the classroom and send a strong message directly to those driving through our village.”
Councillor Aaron McIntyre, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) said: “This is the second ‘Kids Court’ held within the Council area in recent months to address the issue of speeding motorists outside schools.
“The PCSP is pleased that Anahilt Primary School have come on board to work in partnership with the PSNI and ourselves to address road safety and challenging drivers’ attitudes towards speeding. Road traffic collisions, particularly those resulting in death and injury, are a priority for Lisburn & Castlereagh PCSP and it is hoped that this initiative will send out a powerful message to the offending drivers.”
A number of other schools are to host the road safety event over the coming months.