POLICE and headteachers launched a campaign today to keep pupils safe by slowing down traffic near schools.
Officers with hand-held speed cameras mounted a high visibility operation on the kerbside of Howden Drive on the approach to Hawkley Hall High School to enforce the 20mph speed restrictions across selected residential routes unveiled earlier in the year.
It was intended to hammer home the message to motorists now that the new school year has begun and pavements are busy with pupils again twice each day.
The council 20’s Plenty campaign announced in the New Year revealed a rolling programme of mandatory 20mph limits on most of the residential roads within the borough over the next two years.
Its aim is to reduce the severity of injuries to accident victims, improve road safety and improve local quality of life.
Statistics from the Department for Transport show that nationally five children under 16 are killed or seriously injured when walking or cycling every day.
Wigan Council deputy leader, David Molyneux, said: “If drivers reduce their speed from 30mph to 20mph they have more time to react and stop in time if they need to and this leads to fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists.
”Speed limits don’t just apply to other drivers; everyone needs to take responsibility for making our roads safer.”
Head of The Deanery High School Janice Rowlands, is also backing the move to increase drivers’ awareness of their speed in built up areas.
She said: “The Deanery is located on a busy main road and we do make our pupils aware of the need to take care when crossing that road, with staff on duty at the end of every day. Everybody’s first concern should be the safety of pedestrians and other road users.”
It is well documented that injuries are likely to be less severe when hit by a car travelling at 20 mph, compared to the current speed limit of 30 mph, or higher.
This, in turn, leads to a lesser demand on emergency services and local healthcare providers.
l Motorists and parents can show their commitment to safety by signing the council’s 20mph pledge at www.wigan.gov.uk/20mph