Students at Deaf Academy in Exmouth launch campaign to cut Douglas Avenue speed limit to 20mph

Students at the Deaf Academy in Exmouth are campaigning to cut the speed limit outside their new campus to 20mph.

Youngsters at the school think the current 30mph restriction in Douglas Avenue is too fast.

They say the road has various blind spots and no signs, traffic calming measures or crossing points near the former Rolle College site.

The academy’s student council has launched a ’20 is Plenty’ bid to slash the speed limit.

The academy, which provides education and support for 50 deaf young people with varying mobility, visual and special educational needs, relocated from Exeter to its new home in Exmouth last year.

Thirty of the students stay within the residential provision on campus.

A spokesperson for the student council said: “Last term we agreed we would like to have a focused campaign to reduce the speed limit on Douglas Avenue, so it is more suitable and safer for all-day and residential students.

“Unlike hearing children, deaf children cannot clearly identify cars in the distance or around corners through sound.

“We rely on sight and trusting the public are driving slowly in the area. Clear 20mph signs will ensure drivers are aware of our school and our students’ needs. It will help us feel safe in Exmouth.

“It’s important because if cars are going fast, I don’t have time to cross the road safely, which can cause accidents.

“I have found in the past when crossing a road near my house, it can feel like cars come out of nowhere.

“As a deaf person I can’t hear cars around the corner or far away so it can be difficult to judge how safe the road is.

“I would like to see zebra crossings and a 20mph road limit with clear signs to make Douglas Avenue a safer environment.”

The majority of students at the academy have a physical disability or special educational need, alongside their deafness.

Around 16 per cent have multi-sensory impairments (MSI), which affect a person’s mobility, sight, hearing and information processing.

Children and young people with MSI take longer to process information and do not see or hear cars as clearly as hearing children.

Assistant principal of care at the academy James Heaver said: “The Douglas Avenue speed limit needs to be adjusted to reflect how the avenue is utilised now.

“We would like to ensure our road is in conjunction with the safety standards of other roads with schools.

“We have been working with our local partners to address this issue of traffic calming on Douglas Avenue and recognise that this is a slow process.

“Recent support from Councillor Christine Channon came in the form of funding the school signs outside the academy on Douglas Avenue and Salterton Road.

“We fully support the student council campaign and acknowledge how strongly they feel about reducing the speed limit and introducing safe crossing points on the avenue.”

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