September 26, 2012

Minister and father of teen car crash victim launch first Student Road Safety Awards

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond has endorsed the UK's first ever student road safety competition, a concept put together by the father of a teenage car crash victim.

Paul Kerr's son, Jon-Paul, was just 17 when he was killed in a traffic accident involving an
18-year-old driver who had passed his test only a fortnight earlier.

The devoted dad was determined his son's death would not be in vain and after years of campaigning and lobbying, he has finally won parliamentary backing for the launch of the inaugural Peugeot Student Road Safety Awards, supported by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The scheme is the first of its kind and has been developed by Kerr, 68, to encourage students (future road users), aged between 11 and 18, to create unique projects that will help raise awareness of road safety in a suitable way for their age group.

The winners' projects could be considered by the DfT as a potential future road safety campaign, designed to reduce or prevent deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

Last year alone almost 2,000 people died on British roads, which equates to five fatalities every single day.

"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," said Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond.

The awards, which are sponsored by Peugeot and also supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), began life after Kerr realised, following the tragic death of his son, that more was needed to be done to educate school children about the dangers on our roads.

"There were over 25,000 people killed or seriously injured on UK roads last year, the first annual increase since 1994. I hope and pray this initiative will help to bring this frightening figure down," said Kerr, Warwick.

"My eldest son Jon-Paul was just 17 when he was tragically killed in a car crash; I refuse to let his death be in vain. Developing the Peugeot Student Road Safety Awards has in some ways been my way of coping with our loss."

"It has been a long road to get to this point but I am very proud and grateful to have won backing from the Department for Transport, RoSPA and Peugeot. I like to think that Jon-Paul would approve."

"Hopefully by raising awareness of the dangers on our roads in schoolchildren we can instil a sense of responsibility in all ages. There have been many road safety initiatives in the past but this is the first one aimed at and created by young people."

"When Paul came to us looking for support we knew in an instant that 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. Peugeot is proud to sponsor this worthwhile and important venture," said Tim Zimmerman, MD of Peugeot UK.


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