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25th Sep 2023

Speeding motorists face ‘Kids Court’ in new anti-speeding initiative

Jody Coffey

This is such a powerful initiative.

Motorists caught speeding outside of a primary school in Co. Longford were given the option to avoid penalty points and a fine if they agreed to sit in front of a “Kids’ Court.”

This anti-speeding initiative has been rolled out with the hope of changing drivers’ attitudes and behaviours towards speeding.

Longford is the first county to implement this educational initiative and it was carried out at Stonepark National School outside of Longford Town for around an hour last Thursday morning (September 21st).

The school, attended by 220 pupils, is located on a very busy road to and from Athlone.

Drivers who were marginally travelling in excess of the 50km/h speed limit were given the option to choose between a fine and points or sit in front of the Kids’ Court.

However, if a driver was caught going significantly over the speed limit, they were not given the option, and instead had no choice but to accept a fine and penalty points on their license.

Four of the motorists caught at the speed checkpoint opted to attend the Kids’ Court where they got a firm lesson from the young judges who quizzed them on their behaviour and road safety knowledge, as well as pointing out the the dangers of speeding and the risks their speeding posed to the safety of their lives.

However, others opted to take the fine and penalty points.

During the special court sitting, children asked the offenders some hard-hitting questions including asking them whether they realised their driving could have killed a young pupil.

The initiative is part of a pilot scheme, the Community Safety Partnership, overseen by the Department of Justice.

Speaking to RTE before the speed check, Garda Superintendent Séamus Boyle said: “It’s a new initiative and to say we’re excited is an understatement.

“Hopefully it will go a step towards changing the culture of speeding on our roads, especially outside of schools. Our discretion will only be used on the lower end of the scale in relation to speeding.

“Enforcement is important but equally as important in the education piece and we would hope that the children will bring that message home to their parents and their siblings.”