Road safety calls after “madness at 90mph” causes fatality

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Road safety calls after “madness at 90mph” causes fatality

24th June 2010

A road safety campaigner has called for renewed action to keep young drivers safe, after a 90mph race between two teenage drivers along a twisting country road ended with the death of a 17-year-old passenger.

Joanna Bailey, a specialist in road traffic incidents with Fentons Solicitors LLP and a spokesperson for road safety charity Brake, spoke out after the youth was killed when the vehicle he was in failed to negotiate a sudden sharp bend, ending up on its roof in an adjoining field.

"We need to do much more to educate young and inexperienced drivers about the very real dangers posed by this kind of driving," said Joanna, who for several years has represented victims injured in serious road collisions. "Existing and prospective young drivers need to be made aware of the sobering truth that one in three 17 to 20-year-old male drivers will crash in the first two years after passing their driving test."

In this latest incident, a 19-year-old man driving a Peugeot GTi was overtaken by a second youth in a Mitsubishi Colt. The 19-year-old responded by giving chase over a four mile distance where both vehicles reached speeds of 90mph. A passenger in a separate car who witnessed the race was so concerned that he immediately contacted Crimestoppers by phone, while the occupant of another car was forced to pull off the road.

"The fact that two young drivers decided to race each other on a rural road showing a total disregard for the safety of their fellow road-users is quite terrifying," said Joanna, a partner with the firm. "It was madness at 90mph."

The high speed race came to an end when the Peugeot driver lost control, somersaulting through a fence and striking a hedge before overturning. The 17-year-old passenger was fatally injured.

Both drivers have admitted death by dangerous driving and await sentencing.

Over 3,000 car drivers aged under 25 are killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads every year. Statistics show young male motorists are three times more likely then drivers aged over 40 to be involved in high speed crashes after losing control, as well as crashes occurring whilst overtaking and negotiating bends.

"As road traffic collision specialists we encounter the awful devastation experienced by crash victims and their families on a daily basis," said Joanna Bailey. "Until young motorists pay heed to the wealth of driver-safety information available in the public domain we will continue to hear about people losing their lives as a result of this kind of incident.

"I would strongly recommend The Pass Plus scheme to help young drivers improve their skills and crucially widen their experience of driving at night, on urban and rural roads as well as dual-carriageways and motorways," said Joanna. "The Government should also look at compelling young drivers to indicate their inexperience to other motorists by displaying a "P" plate on their vehicle for 90 days after successfully passing their test."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for families and victims of fatal road traffic collisions.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - BBC, RoSPA