Road Safety News
 

‘Kids’ court’ marks start of Birmingham’s 20mph initiative

Wednesday 12th October 2016

Drivers caught breaking the new 20mph speed limit outside a school in Birmingham have appeared in front of a ‘kids’ court’, rather than being issued with a fine and penalty points.

16 drivers opted to face the panel of pupils from Montgomery Primary in Sparkhill, under an initiative which has been praised by West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council.

Council officers commended the pupils involved in the event and said the exercise sent a far more powerful message than fines or penalty points.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, cabinet member for transport and roads at Birmingham City Council, told the Birmingham Mail: “They choose kids’ court over a fine or points because they thought it was a soft option. But it was definitely not.

“The children did very well – they talked about their area, their school friends and their brothers and sisters whose lives are put at risk by speeding.”

The initiative marked the introduction of 20mph speed limits across large parts of Birmingham. The limits came into force on 10 October, although signs and road markings have been in place in these areas since the beginning of the year to encourage drivers to slow down.

The council is now warning motorists that they face punishment should they flout the law.

Councillor Stewart Stacey added: “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 20mph 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.”

 

 

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The policy of hitting people at slower speeds coming to a classroom near you. As long as you make sure your speedo doesn't exceed 20 everything's ok.

I'd prefer drivers who are engaged with their surroundings, anticipating potential hazards, setting their speed accordingly and not hitting anyone at all.

I wonder if these children understand the concept of hazard perception, or more importantly, the people indoctrinating - sorry teaching - understand that too.
Peter, Birmingham

Agree (4) | Disagree (6)
-2

Best allow these children to drive and then they will have an informed opinion! Does this include all those 'speeding' drivers at night when the kids are asleep in their beds, or school holidays when the schools are shut?
Whitstable, Kent.

Agree (5) | Disagree (8)
-3

Charles, I would have to disagree. We have run a similar project locally and I would like to respond to your points.

1.) Prior to this initiative children receive other road safety lessons so that they can understand the rules of keeping themselves safe. As such they aren't taught that the only way that they can be safe is through drivers sticking to the speed limits. Road safety still remains the children's responsibility as well. They are learning about rules that different road users should follow.

2.) Children are not forced to take part. We have to receive parental consent and even then if children don't want to ask a question or take part they don't have to. A lot of the children are concerned about safety and their local community and they want to improve their local area.

3.) It is stressed that drivers are not to be humiliated or laughed at, made fun of, gossiped about. Drivers have a choice to take the normal punishment if they don't want to be spoken to by the children.

Most drivers have left by thanking the children for the calm and respectful way they deliver the questions. They also apologize to the children and are grateful they didn't get the points and the fine, but feel the intervention will have a more lasting effect on their behaviour. Some drivers said they would have felt like a victim if they had the points and the fine, but at the end it was hard to feel like a victim when justifying their actions to children.
Edward

Agree (26) | Disagree (27)
-1

If the editor permits, I would like to remind readers, particularly any newcomers to the RSGB UK news feed, that views expressed by contributors are not necessarily representative of the road safety/collision reduction fraternity, most of whom I believe are rational and informed.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (25) | Disagree (10)
+15

I believe that using children in this way is wrong on a number of counts:
1. It amounts to the brainwashing and politicising of vulnerable children. Speed limits are a controversial and unproven measure with respect to reducing casualties, so abusing children in this way by misleading them about the powers of speed limits and cajoling them to humiliate the hapless motorists is inexcusable.
2. Pushing children into the forefront as pawns in this clearly politically motivated exercise is a disgrace.
3. Subjecting motorists to this cruel and unusual humiliation for committing a victimless technical offence is shameful.

Practices such as these belong in the dark ages and should not be condoned in the 21st century by any advanced, civilised society. Let children be children.
Charles, England

Agree (35) | Disagree (33)
+2