SPEEDING drivers have been stopped by children in Llanelli for going over the 20mph limit outside their schools – and asked to explain themselves.
Pupils from Ysgol Penygaer, Ysgol Dewi Sant and Ysgol Y Felin have been taking action to slow down motorists.
A total of 33 drivers were stopped by the schoolchildren (including five for not wearing a seatbelt), supported by the council’s road safety unit and officers from Dyfed-Powys Police , GoSafe, and the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
The children used a Speed Indicator Device to find out what speed passing motorists were travelling. The device flashes their speed along with a happy face if they are within the limit or a sad face if they are over the limit.
Offending drivers are given the option of speaking to the children to explain why they are speeding or receive a £100 fine and three penalty points.
The initiative is part of a wider education and awareness campaign in the Llanelli North area, which is part of a Welsh Government rollout to reduce the national default speed limit.
Llanelli North, which covers Dafen, some parts of Felinfoel and the Llanerch area, has been chosen as one of eight communities in Wales to trial a reduced national speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in residential areas and busy pedestrian streets.
Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole, who went along to Ysgol Y Felin, said: “Evidence shows that lower speeds result in fewer collisions and reduces the severity of injuries, and in particular, where 20mph limits are introduced, there is a reduction in the number of casualties.
“It also encourages people to be more active within the neighbourhood, leading to healthier lifestyles, creating a better environment and quality of life.”
Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr Hazel Evans added: “It is extremely worrying that so many motorists are continuing to speed outside our schools, hopefully this initiative will make people think about the speed they are travelling and the impact it has on local communities and the safety of our children.
“We hope that drivers will adhere to new 20mph speed limit improving safety for all road users, but where they do not, an enforcement strategy has been developed and will be implemented where speeding continues to cause concerns.”
The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “We’ve already seen the effects current 20mph limits have had in reducing speeds and serious incidents on our roads. I believe this innovative enforcement initiative at the site of one of our 20mph pilots will encourage motorists to drive responsibly, placing the safety of children at the forefront of their minds at all times.”
Other awareness-raising initiatives taking place in the area include a Community Speed Watch where local residents have been recruited by Dyfed-Powys Police and GoSafe to monitor the speeds on local roads using speed detection devices. Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are referred to the police, and the aim is to educate drivers to slow down and stay within the limit.
In a scheme similar to the speed reduction initiative with the schoolchildren, police and GoSafe are also stopping speeding drivers and giving them the option of the fine and points, or receiving a short presentation from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service on the consequences of speeding in the community.
The road safety team is also working with local schools to encourage more active travel. All primary schools in the area are being offered Kerbcraft training which aims to teach children from aged from five to seven how to be safer pedestrians, as well as on-road cycle training for all year 6 pupils.
Sgt Ian Price, from Go Safe – Dyfed-Powys Police Road Harm Reduction Unit, said “Dyfed-Powys Police, with the support of Go Safe, is working with our road safety partners to help change driver attitudes in recognising a cultural and potential legal change, regarding restricted road status from 30mph to 20mph.
“Historically we have grown up to know that streetlights mean 30, but potential legislative changes in Wales in 2023 will default a restricted road status to 20mph. Too many people are being killed or seriously injured in existing urban areas, in which a reduction in speed limit along with compliance, can only reduce the number of these incidents. We can also make our communities safer places to live by walking and cycling those short journeys.
“Over the next few months, you will see an increased visible presence in the Llanelli North area where engagement, education and enforcement will take place in an effort to change driver behaviour”.
For further information on Llanelli North visit the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/roadsafety and follow @carmarthenshireroadsafety on Instagram and Facebook and @carmsroadsafety on Twitter for updates.
PICTURE CAPTION: Local Member Cllr Bill Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr Hazel Evans and Council Leader Emlyn Dole with pupils from Ysgol Y Felin who are taking action against speeding drivers.