Drivers caught speeding outside schools in London could receive the unusual punishment of being confronted by the pupils, Transport for London (TfL) has revealed.

The local government organisation responsible for London's transport system says the initiative is part of a new “road danger reduction education scheme” called Junior Roadwatch. The project sees children join the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Roads and Transport Policing Command to catch those that flout the limits around their schools.

Drivers caught speeding are normally faced with either a fixed penalty fine and points on their licence or a speed awareness course, but the Junior Roadwatch scheme will give “eligible” drivers a third option of hearing from the children.

Aerial view of a school keep clear road sign in the UK

Transport for London says drivers that choose the that option will receive an educational message from the children and the council staff member. As part of that message, the children will ask the offending driver questions such as “Why do you think the speed limit is 20 mph on this road?” and “Are you aware of the consequences of speeding?”. It’s hoped the initiative will make drivers think about their speed near schools.

Between 2015 and 2017, government figures show almost 1,400 children were killed in collisions while on their way to school - a number TfL describes as “unacceptable”. As a result, the organisation is working with the MPS to target areas where the Junior Roadwatch scheme may be effective.

School safety zone roadside warning sign

The project has already swung into action at the Our Lady Immaculate Primary School in Surbiton, south-west London, and further sites will be selected based on “community concerns around speeding or data on injuries and collisions”.

“It is essential that our busy local neighbourhoods are safe places to get around,” said Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transport. “Over a thousand children in London have been injured in collisions travelling to school over the last three years, and reducing excessive speeding is vital to keeping young people safe.

'We want Londoners all across our city to feel safe walking and cycling as part of their everyday routine, and Junior Roadwatch helps raise awareness of the dangers of speeding, making our streets more welcoming places to spend time.”

Slow speed signage on asphalt road

And Inspector Tony Mannakee, from the MPS's Roads and Transport Policing Command, said he hoped children would be able to get the anti-speeding message through to motorists.

“Junior Roadwatch is about involving school children in a road safety scheme that directly affects them - dangerous driving in the vicinity of their schools,” he said. “Excessive speed unfortunately remains a common cause of serious and fatal collisions across London. We hope that pupils engaging with motorists caught driving dangerously outside their schools will make them consider the implications of excessive speeds and encourage safer driving behaviour.”

Young school children in Eastleigh Hampshire UK