Deadly Roads

Families from the West Midlands who have lost loved ones in crashes involving young drivers are calling for action during Road Safety Week.

According to the road safety charity Brake, every week in our region one young person dies on the roads. They have carried out a survey of 609 young people in the region which shows nearly six in 10 fear for their lives at times when a passenger with a young driver. 82 percent of them want a tougher regime for inexperienced drivers, favouring at least one type of licence restriction, such as a zero-tolerance alcohol limit and tougher penalties.

Brake is demanding government action, asking for restrictions to be placed on young drivers, including a minimum learning to drive period. Ellie Pearson, campaign spokesperson at Brake, says: "It is unacceptable that more young people die in preventable road crashes than from any other cause. Every day, more families face the unbearable news that a loved one has been killed suddenly and violently, or suffered a horrific injury, in young driver crashes. We are calling for action to tackle this needless suffering and the huge costs to society.  We need drivers of all ages in the West Midlands to show compassion at the wheel, to realise they have lives in their hands, and pledge to drive safely and legally. And we need the government to help young, inexperienced drivers to be safer, by implementing graduated driver licensing: we're appealing for a commitment to this evidenced, life-saving policy during Road Safety Week."

Anthony Newmarsh died in a road crash on 17 November 2006, nine weeks after passing his driving test. He was just 17. Being inexperienced, he overshot a junction, coming out onto a 50mph road, as a 7.5 tonne truck was approaching. Anthony was struck driver's side on, his car spun and the truck tipped on top of his car. Anthony later died in hospital. Anthony's sister Lisa Newmarsh was the first to see him and identified his body. Lisa said: "It never gets any easier; the void just gets bigger and bigger. Ant is in our thoughts every second of every day. Our hearts will never stop aching for the lovely young lad who was tragically taken from us. This Road Safety Week, I want to tell all young people to take care on the roads because your whole future - and other people's - is in your hands. Please don't take chances that could ruin your life or someone else's. Ant was my perfect brother and best friend, and he should not have died at only 17. Don't let it happen to you."

Kelly Marsh from Warwickshire was 20 years old when she was violently killed in a crash caused by a young driver who had been drinking.  Kelly's mum Jane Marsh is supporting Road Safety Week in the West Midlands and appealing to young people to do everything they can to stay safe on roads. Jane said:  "How can I possibly explain to you the horror of having to identify my daughter's body? She lay there with a look of sheer terror on her face that spoke of how she experienced those last few seconds of life. I live with that image every day. My beautiful Kel is dead because of the actions of a young driver who played Russian roulette with my daughter's life. I'll never see her cheeky smile again - I never got to see her joy at passing her exams which she worked so hard for. We are so proud of her. I'm calling on all young drivers in the West Midlands to stop and think before they get behind the wheel. Please think of my Kelly and pledge to never drink any alcohol before driving - drive slow, sober and secure. It might cost more than your licence; it could cost you or your friends' life."