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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Pupil power tackles speeding cars
Children from Hindlip Primary School
Children from Hindlip Primary made their own speed camera
Speed cameras may be the curse of many road users but a group of schoolchildren and their parents are convinced they are life savers.

Four-year-old Thomas Drew was knocked down and killed by a car five years ago when he stepped into the road outside Hindlip Primary School in Worcester.

At least three other children have been hit by traffic near the school.

Hindlip's parents campaigned successfully to cut the speed limit near the school from 40mph to 30 but drivers were still flouting the law.

Things come whizzing along, you get to the middle of the road and you are stranded
Julia Letts, parent governor

"One of my really worst fears as you can imagine is trying to get across the road in the morning with a four-year-old in one hand and a six-year-old in the other," said parent governor Julia Letts.

"Things come whizzing along, you get to the middle of the road and you are stranded.

"There's cars coming that way and nobody stops to let you cross and you're just willing your four-year-old not to run out and eventually some kind soul lets you cross.

"That's like, phew, another morning and we've got safely across the road."

Thomas Drew
Thomas Drew was knocked down and killed near his school

Thomas Drew's mother Sarah has no doubt what is needed, "We would like to see more than just the speed limit being reduced.

"We'd like to see lights and we'd like to see safety railings for children - even a lollipop lady or just anybody to make sure our children are safe."

Parents wanted a speed camera to be put outside the school but claim they were told another child would have to die before the right criteria were met.

So the children and parents conducted their own experiment using a dummy speed camera to try to slow down the traffic and prevent any more accidents involving their classmates.

Their efforts were filmed by the BBC for a documentary.

Firstly Robert Johnston from the Institute of Transport Studies used a speed gun to catch the speeders.

It was discovered that drivers routinely ignored the 30mph limit and nearly 40% were found to be going over that speed.

Then the children built a fake camera and put it on the side of the road.
Children from Hindlip Primary School
Three other children have been hurt in road accidents from the school

With the home made camera in position, the vehicles travelled at an average of 27mph with only 12% of drivers breaking the limit.

After the children presented the results of their survey to Worcestershire County Council, it started its own survey of the school's traffic problems.

After a meeting between council officials and the school it decided on a three point plan to improve road safety.

A solar-powered, speed-activated sign that flashes up drivers' speeds as they go past, and which also displays the correct speed limit is going to be set up.

Clearer signs will be painted on the road on the approaches past the school and bushes along the carriageway will be cut back to improve views both for motorists and for pedestrians.

Across the UK a child pedestrian is killed or injured every 30 minutes. Hindlip parents are now hoping their children will at least be a little safer.

Crash: One Fatal Day On The Roads is on Friday 25 May at 1900 BST on BBC One


SEE ALSO
Child road safety aim driven home
14 Jun 05 |  Scotland

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