Calling a halt to drivers on phones.
4 November 2010
People caught using their mobile phones while driving in
Knowsley have been made to meet the children who could have been
The motorists had been caught using their mobiles while driving
near St Aidan’s primary in Huyton by Merseyside Police.
They were offered the choice of points on their licence and a
fine or a grilling by children in the school.
The drivers were also made to watch a DVD of parents who had
lost children in similar accidents and to do a simulated drive
while listening to voices on headphones.
“This is about showing drivers that taking that call could cost
somebody’s life,” said Cllr Dave Lonergan, Knowsley’s cabinet
member for regeneration, economy and skills.
“These children made that message real and made the drivers face
up to what dangers they could’ve put them in.
“This isn’t an easy opt out – it’s about showing people the
human cost of breaking the law.”
Zoe McAllister from Kirkby was caught using her phone and opted
to face the pupils.
She said: “This really brings it home – I’ve got children myself
and felt awful listening to those parents talking about how they
felt losing theirs in a road accident.
“You just don’t think ahead and you’re rushing around and you
decide to answer that call but now I know why that is such a bad
“I won’t be doing it again.”
Daniel Swift from Huyton was also caught using his phone.
He said: “I’ve got a young boy myself and couldn’t imagine
anything worse than losing him.
“I was really nervous facing the children’s panel but I think
the whole experience has made a difference to me.
“It’s made me realise that even taking a call on a hands free
set is distracting. It only takes a few minutes to pull over and
that’s what I’ll be doing from now on.”
One of the pupils on the panel, eleven year old Joseph said: “I
think some of the drivers thought this was going to be a breeze but
when we got talking to them they got scared.
“Maybe that’s because they think kids can’t be serious but we
And nine year old Daniel had a stark warning for drivers: “Don’t
answer that call – you just never know who might be crossing the
road and it could be a child that you haven’t seen.”
The exercise was a joint initiative by Knowsley Council’s road
safety department and Merseyside Police.
Sergeant Paul Mountford, from Road Policing, said: "It’s
disappointing that, despite several years of education and
campaigning, motorists are still prepared to endanger themselves
and others by using mobile phones while driving.
"The last campaign where we worked in partnership with a school
and Knowsley Council's Road Safety Team about speeding was very
successful and we hope this will have a similar impact.”
It is an offence to use a hand-held phone while driving.
Motorists may also be charged with careless or dangerous driving if
they are using a hands free set, if using the phone results in the
standard of their driving falling below that required.
In the last 12 months Merseyside Police has issued 8,306 fixed
penalty notices to motorists caught using their mobile phones while