School children from Ward End Primary spent a day asking speeding drivers to account for their actions, after they were caught breaking a 20mph speed limit outside the school.
Over the course of three hours 19 drivers were stopped by West Midlands Police and given the opportunity to face a panel of school children at a ‘Kids’ Court’, or face points on their license and a £100 fine.
Those who were driving at excessive speeds of 37mph or more were immediately reported.
The powerful panel of five pupils didn’t hold back on their questions, at one point asking drivers – ‘do you realise you could have killed one of us?’
It is now widely accepted that the difference between 20 and 30 miles per hour is not only significant in terms of whether a child survives, it also makes a big difference on the severity of their injuries.
The children also told drivers that children under the age of eight are unable to accurately judge the speed of vehicles traveling over 20mph due to early brain development.
Several drivers were moved to tears – one driver stated:
“After speaking with the children, I am now very aware of the difference that reducing my speed can make. I won’t be speeding again.”
Maleeha Majid, aged nine, said:
“A lot of the drivers were not paying attention so were not aware of the speed limit. Slower is safer not just for us but for adults too.”
Councillor Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads at Birmingham City Council, said:
“Activities like Kids’ Court aren’t about giving offenders an easy option to avoid points on their license, nor is it about some mythical ‘war on motorists’. It is based on one simple statement – slower is safer.
“The vast majority of drivers who took part in the exercise told us that speaking to the children has had a huge impact on them and that they will go away and talk about it with their friends and families to help spread the message.”
Chief Inspector Jared White, of West Midlands Police, said:
“The impact of having to face young children is far greater than being given a warning by a police officer or receiving a fine and three points. This initiative highlights the dangers and raises the awareness of speeding outside schools not only for motorists, but for the children as well.”
Education is a vital part of Birmingham’s 20mph “Slower is Safer” campaign. Following this ‘Kids Court’ activity, all schools within the 20mph areas will be invited to take part in a ‘Slower is Safer’ poster design competition. The winning entries will be displayed on some of Birmingham City Council’s refuse trucks.
Birmingham City Council’s 20mph Slower is Safer programme is being delivered in partnership with West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service and will ultimately see the vast majority of the city’s streets covered by a 20mph speed limit.
Part of the campaign includes stopping drivers who are driving over the speed limit in an effort to change their attitude towards driving on the roads.
For updates visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/20mph
You can also follow the campaign on twitter (@bham20mph) or like the Facebook page
Speed limits of 20mph are increasingly being seen on residential streets across the UK and they’re popular: recent Department of Transport research showed 73 per cent of people are in favour.
The new speed limits will be rolled out on a phased basis commencing with the first scheme covering approximately one fifth the city by area, comprising the entire city centre within the A4540, plus areas to the east and south of the city centre.