People caught using their mobile phones while driving in Knowsley have been made to meet the children who could have been their victims.
The motorists had been caught using their mobiles while driving near St Aidan’s primary in Huyton. They were offered the choice of points on their licence and a fine or a grilling by children in the school.
The drivers were also made to watch a DVD featuring parents who had lost children in similar circumstances and to undertake a simulated drive while listening to voices on headphones.
The exercise was a joint initiative by Knowsley’s road safety team and Merseyside Police.
Zoe McAllister, who was caught using her phone and opted to face the pupils, said: “This really brings it home – I’ve got children myself and felt awful listening to those parents talking about how they felt losing theirs in a road accident.
“You just don’t think ahead and you’re rushing around and you decide to answer that call but now I know why that is such a bad idea. I won’t be doing it again.”
Daniel Swift, who was also caught using his phone, said: “I’ve got a young boy myself and couldn’t imagine anything worse than losing him.
“I was really nervous facing the children’s panel but I think the whole experience has made a difference to me.
“It’s made me realise that even taking a call on a hands free set is distracting. It only takes a few minutes to pull over and that’s what I’ll be doing from now on.”
One of the pupils on the panel, 11-year-old Joseph, said: “I think some of the drivers thought this was going to be a breeze but when we got talking to them they got scared.
“Maybe that’s because they think kids can’t be serious but we are serious.”
Sergeant Paul Mountford, from Road Policing, said: "The last campaign where we worked in partnership with a school and Knowsley’s road safety team about speeding was very successful and we hope this will have a similar impact.”
For more information contact Jackie Rand from the Knowsley road safety team, or call the Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s communication department on 0151 443 3063.