Learn your lesson: Schoolchildren pull over dangerous drivers for National Road Safety Week in Rochdale

By Ben Ireland

A crackdown on dangerous drivers has been led by Rochdale school children as part of National Road Safety Week.

Pupils from St Luke’s CE Primary School worked with council and police officers to pull over motorists who were speeding, using mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts on Queen’s Park Road.

After a road safety lesson by the council’s Highways Casualty Reduction Team, the crime-fighting children were sent out to inspect the passing traffic on the busy road.

Rather than pay a fine and have points on their licence, offending drivers were given the chance to explain themselves to the young volunteers whose lives they were putting at risk.

Jack Heselwood, 10, one of the pupils who took part, said: “Queen’s Park Road is not good in the morning because drivers are rushing to get to work and don’t think about the children walking to school, so they speed.”

Nine-year-old Millie Wilson said: “When we asked the drivers that we caught why they were speeding they didn’t have a good reason.

“I think they were embarrassed and I hope they won’t speed again.”

Police chose Queen’s Road because of its proximity to St Luke’s school and its reputation for road safety incidents.

Kevin Woodward, a Greater Manchester Police Road Traffic Officer, who took part, said: “This is a valuable chance to educate not only the offending drivers but also the children, in the dangers associated with unlawful behaviour whilst driving. It is always good to drive this message home early.

“Those drivers who receive the safety input are aware that it is children who have witnessed their behaviour and this serves to reinforce the possible consequences of their actions.”

The council has also introduced 20mph zones around schools and 60 schools crossing patrols as part of the bid to protect Rochdale’s youngsters on their way to and from school.

Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We hope that by organising this joint action we can teach children to be more alert to the dangers on roads and make dangerous drivers improve their behaviour after facing up to the very real, life changing consequences that could result from their actions.”

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of deaths and serious injuries on Rochdale highways has nearly halved, and the council aims to reduce the figures by a further 40% by 2020.

The Highways Casualty Reduction Team also provide in-school road safety education and are giving cycling lessons to 2,000 children this year.

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