THE speed of vehicles travelling past rural schools has been a heavily debated issue locally for some time.
In areas with limited or no traffic calming measures the speed of vehicles whizzing past playgrounds where pupils are out and about has caused concern. This has previously been brought to the fore at a number of local schools, including St Joseph’s primary school Donagh and St Mary’s primary school, Maguiresbridge.
A recent report, Road Safety Issues for Northern Ireland, published by the Department for Infrastructure outlines that approximately 80 percent of respondents thought a 20mph speed limit should be applied outside schools and 75 percent thought it should be applied to an area where children play.
Such a step to introduce these reduced speed limits locally would welcomed by Councillor Sheamus Greene.
“I think it would be a really positive move,” he said, “I would think that 20mph past a school would be an extremely reasonable thing to ask for and I have no doubt that it would take down the incidents of accidents around schools.”
Speaking to the Herald earlier this year John Prunty, principal of St Mary’s Maguiresbridge had also said the school community would welcome any measures which would reduce the speed of road users outside the school.
“Remember a car travelling at 30mph takes twice as long to stop as a car travelling at 20mph. My message to road users outside our school is to slow down and be aware of the increased traffic at pick up and drop off times.”
An electronic speed measurement sign was temporarily erected near St Mary’s Primary School. These signs serve to advise motorists of their speed reminding them that they are in the vicinity of a school.
Another issue arising from the report was the use of mobile phones while driving. More than half of all drivers reported that they used their phone in some capacity while driving. Approximately one in seven drivers admitted to texting while driving and one in ten admitted to making a hand held call.
“It’s a major problem,” Councillor Greene said, he then advised motorists to switch their phones off while driving to avoid distractions.
“We recently done a course with the busses and advice was to switch your phone off and put it into the glove compartment and lock it, incase you would be tempted while you were driving along. That was good advice.”
Posted: 1:45 pm March 6, 2019