The Welsh Government has enlisted fire service personnel to team up with police officers and educate motorists ahead of the 20mph default speed limit roll out in September.
On Sunday, 17 September Wales will become the first UK nation to introduce a new default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads, but it is already operating in eight pilot areas.
To prepare motorists for this significant change, the Welsh Government and the police are working with the fire service, Go Safe, local authorities and other community groups to educate motorists.
At roadsides across Wales, police and Go Safe vehicles aim to stop or detect speeding motorists in 20mph areas and offer the opportunity to watch an educational video rather than face prosecution and a fine. It is a speed awareness course but free at the moment in Wales and a second offence will carry an automatic fine and points on a driver’s licence.
The video warns about the dangers of excessive speed and highlights the benefits of slower speed. It is only offered to those motorists not driving excessively over the speed limit.
Supt Leanne Brustad, Gwent Police said, “Engagement, education, and enforcement plays a huge part in the rollout.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to educate drivers as much as possible as the new speed limit comes into force and help deliver all of the benefits of this policy.”
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Group Manager Richie Smart said, “Our fire fighters see the devastating impacts that road traffic collisions, including those in built up areas where people and vehicles mix closely, can have. We are therefore pleased to support our partners to raise awareness of the importance of speed limits to keep everyone safe.”
Commenting on the Welsh Government press release that fire services will be utilised to enforce the 20mph speed limit changes in Wales, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS said, “I cannot believe that this madcap policy from the Labour Government is now pulling in members of the fire service to enforce the blanket 20mph speed limit change, spreading a stretched public service even thinner.
“Labour’s 20mph speed limits will cost over £30m to implement and will cost the Welsh economy a whopping £4.5bn. The loss to the Welsh economy is an astounding amount that we cannot afford to write off as a result of this foolish policy. Could the use of speeding fines be a stealth tax that recoups a portion of these costs?
“The priorities of our fire service should not include catching motorists speeding, the Labour Government are showing that this foolish policy is not about safety or the environment, as they have claimed, but using public services to catch out motorists and collect money in fines. What service will they fold into it next, paramedics?”