Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy visited St Helens to oversee a joint traffic enforcement operation between Merseyside Police and St Helens Council’s Road Safety Team to mark National Road Safety Week.
The operation – part of a programme of work by the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership – was carried out last week on roads across the borough.
The first location was on Borough Road, near to the spot on Prescot Road where Violet-Grace Youens and her nan Angela French were hit by a speeding car. Tragically, Violet died soon after the incident, aged four, while Angela sustained severe injuries.
During the operation, police officers used speed guns to check drivers were adhering to the 30mph limit and stop those who weren’t. They also stopped drivers using mobile phones and anyone observed not wearing seat belts.
Drivers caught excessively speeding were handed traffic offence reports while those caught at lower speeds (up to and including 35mph) were given the option of attending a Speed Seminar at St Helens Town Hall on Tuesday 5 December, instead of the report and the fines incurred.
The town hall event will feature presentations on all aspects of driving and road safety. Speakers will include representatives from St Helens Council’s Road Safety Team, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, national charity RoadPeace, and a local approved driving instructor.
The parents of Violet-Grace Youens will also make an emotional plea for motorists to drive safely, touching on the devastating impact such carelessness by drivers can have.
Over the course of the week’s operation 110 drivers were caught driving over the speed limit and penalised, with 80 of those referred to the speed seminar.
The local operation was a joint action between St Helens Council’s Road Safety Team and St Helens Community Police as part of the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, which includes local authorities across the region, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) and Highways England. Similar operations were carried out across Merseyside.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy said: “Speeding is killing people on the roads of Merseyside. Too many people are knocked down, knocked off their motor bikes and cycles every year, or are injured in their cars. The figures also show that the public of Merseyside are more likely to be killed or seriously injured per head of population than similar Metropolitan areas.
“I take road safety very seriously and that’s why I was pleased to join representatives from Merseyside’s Road Safety Partnership and St Helens Council, near to the spot where Violet-Grace was killed, to mark National Road Safety Week.”
Rebecca Power from Merseyside Road Safety Partnership said: “Deaths and serious injury on our roads can often be caused by drivers speeding and also being distracted whilst at the wheel of a car.
“Road Safety Week has been an excellent opportunity to engage with road users in Merseyside directly, hopefully increasing their awareness of the need to reduce speed on the road and take greater care both as a driver and a pedestrian.”
Coun Terry Shields, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Green, Smart and Sustainable Borough, said: “Every death or serious injury on the roads of our borough is one too many.
“The death of Violet-Grace is a tragedy still fresh in our memory as a community and I’m certain that nobody wishes to see a day like that again.
“I’d urge drivers to be more aware of their speed and take greater care, as even a few miles per hour above the speed limit can make a big difference in a collision.
“I’d like to thank Merseyside Police and the council’s Road Safety Team for their hard work on this operation, and particularly the Police and Crime Commissioner for actively supporting this work and highlighting this important issue across Merseyside.”