POLICE in Strabane are stepping up speed checks outside local schools, following a surge in complaints about speeding.
Clarifying that drivers can still be prosecuted for dangerous driving in the vicinity of schools even if they are under the requisite 30mph limit, a PSNI spokesperson has suggested that Operation School Gate will also target drivers who “abandon” their cars with the hazard lights on.
One local principal who welcomed the development is Julie Kelly from Ardstraw Primary School.
“Certainly we’d welcome these new speed checks,” she said.
“Something like this is a timely reminder for people and sometimes that’s what it takes.”
Principal Kelly also suggested that speed ramps outside the Ardstraw school make a great difference when it comes to drivers slowing down.
“They definitely help,” she continued.
“We also have a lot of children who walk into the village and they are able to leave the school from a different gate. School buses are also able to pick children up within the school grounds. So a combination of all those things help.”
She added, “Certainly, we wouldn’t say no to the speed checks.”
Sgt Brown from the PSNI in Strabane has warned drivers to “slow down, or face the consequences.”
“We have received numerous complaints regarding vehicles and primary schools,” he said. “Clearly people are running late and driving too fast for the road conditions. 30mph might be the speed limit in some areas, but it may not be appropriate in built up areas with children crossing the road etc.
“We can prosecute you for dangerous or careless driving even if you’re below the speed limit.
“I had officers out this morning doing Operation School Gate. This will be an ongoing operation and is specifically targeting those driving too fast, carelessly or dangerously in the vicinity of schools. It will also target those who seem to think they can just abandon their vehicles wherever they like, leaving your hazard lights on will not protect you from prosecution.
“There are far too many deaths on our roads and it is a priority for us to prevent these as best we can.”