Sad dad inspires safety concept
NEW SAFETY CAMPAIGN: (From left) Paul Kerr, Tom Mullarky (chief executive of RoSPA), Chris Whyte (MP), Steve Hammond (road safety minister), Tim Zimmerman (MD Peugeot UK).
UK’s road safety minister Stephen Hammond has endorsed the UK’s first student road safety competition, a concept created by a teenage car-crash victim's dad.
Paul Kerr’s son Jon-Paul, was 17 when he was killed in a traffic collision involving an 18-year-old driver who'd passed his test only a fortnight earlier.
Kerr was determined his son’s death would not be in vain and after years of campaigning he has won parliamentary backing for the launch of the first Peugeot Student Road Safety Awards, supported by the UK's Department for Transport.
The scheme is the first of its kind and was developed by Kerr, 68, to encourage students as future road users, aged 11 to 18, to create unique projects to help raise awareness of road safety in a was suited to their age group.The winners’ projects would be considered by the Department for Transport as potential future road safety campaigns.
Hammond said at the launch: “Road safety is a top priority for the government and I am pleased to support these awards. I would like to pay a special thanks to Paul Kerr who has campaigned tirelessly to launch this scheme.”
The awards, sponsored by Peugeot and supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, started after Kerr realised more needed to be done to educate children about road perils.
“More than 25 000 people were killed or seriously injured on UK roads in 2011, the first annual increase since 1994. I hope this initiative will help to bring down this frightening figure. “My son was only 17 when he was tragically killed in a car crash. I refuse to let his death be in vain. Developing the student safety awards has in some way been my way of coping with our loss.
“I hope can instill a sense of responsibility in all ages. There have been many road-safety initiatives but this is the first aimed at and created by young people.”
Tim Zimmerman, managing director of Peugeot UK, said: “When Paul came to us looking for support we knew in an instant we had to get involved. This is an inspirational initiative that will help to educate and potentially save lives and reduce serious injuries on our roads.”