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‘An accident waiting to happen!’ Speeding drivers told to slow down outside primary school

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MOTORISTS are being urged to slow down outside a local primary school after 2,290 vehicles were clocked speeding within a fortnight.

Speeds of up to 80mph were measured outside Berkley First School on Berkley Street, which has a 30mph speed limit.

And the fastest vehicle clocked during the school’s opening hours was travelling at 57mph at 1pm.

In response to the figures, which were recorded during 5th-19th June, the school and local campaigners are calling for action to be taken – including the installation of a permanent fixed speed camera.

Berkley First School headteacher, Steve Kirby, told Frome Times, “We welcome any help and suggestions regarding curbing speed outside Berkley School.  The recent statistics that 2,290 cars were exceeding the speed limit within a fortnight is staggering and worrying.  

“We also have a problem with members of the public growing increasingly impatient when caught behind queues of parents, then over-taking and speeding off. The school has been campaigning for better signage, increased police presence and speed cameras for a long time, so we would of course welcome a speed camera, which would help to curb excessive speeds.”

Speaking to Frome Times, Community Speed Watch coordinator for Mendip Police, Ashley Reay said, “It’s a horrendous spot and it needs a fixed permanent speed camera – but because there have been no deaths or accidents in the past five years, the authorities won’t install one.

“The speeds are getting higher and higher, so it’s a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ an accident will happen. It’s an accident waiting to happen. There are no fewer than 20 signs in the area telling drivers to slow down, you cannot miss them, so there’s no excuse for these speeds.

“During the fortnight, the speed indication device measured the speed of 22,550 vehicles travelling in one direction – down Berkley Street from the A36 in Standerwick to Frome. 

“2,920 vehicles were recorded as exceeding the speeding prosecution levels, 75 of these vehicles were actually over 60 mph  – and that’s only in one direction. You could probably double that if we measured the speed of cars going the other way!

“Speeding outside Berkley School has been an ongoing issue for many years – the speed limit on Berkely Street was reduced from 60mph to 30mph in 2012 in response to concerns from the school and parents. But speeding has continued, with regular checks by the Community Speed Watch team clocking drivers consistently speeding. In May 2017, one driver was found to be travelling at 95mph- the highest ever recorded within the local area at the time.

“This area is highly patrolled, but we are at a loss as to why the public do not learn. I would urge drivers to think – you don’t want to be reading in the next Frome Times that there has been a big crash outside Berkley School. It’s not worth the risk. It takes five seconds to slow down to be within the speed limit and prevent an accident – can drivers spare 30 seconds to do this?”

In response to questions from Frome Times regarding the ongoing problem on Berkley Street and the potential need for a speed camera, Frome police sergeant, Rachel Clark said, “We are aware of the issue on Berkley in Frome and what is of concern is the fact that some irresponsible motorists are speeding outside a primary school.

“We are working closely with both the local Community Speed Watch and the speed enforcement unit in the hope that both education and enforcement will help to change the behaviour of these speeding motorists.

“If driving along that road, I would urge other motorists to act as ‘pace’ vehicles – driving in compliance with the speed limit in order to slow down following motorists.”

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