Articles Tagged ‘guide - Brake the road safety charity’

Benefits of following this guidance

Peace of mind that you are providing the best possible crash protection in the event of a crash.

Best-possible comfort for the children, who invariably get fidgety on long journeys.

High standard of compliance with risk assessment procedures within your institution.

Opportunity to use the process as part of a learning exercise for the children on measuring and the importance of their special child seat or seat belts.

Opportunity for a learning exercise for younger children on measuring and the importance of their car's special child seat.

Helping children to be safer when out and about in vehicles with their parents or other relatives, as they will be more aware of the importance of seatbelts and child seats.

Opportunity to update your internal health and safety policy to ensure you apply this standard on every trip.

Evidence that you can use when you apply for your Healthy School status, or on your website when you are explaining what a safe and responsible institution you are.

Brake Speed Congress, May 2014

Campaigning for slower speeds and safer communities

Speech by Mary Williams OBE, Brake chief executive

In advertising and in popular culture, speed is packaged as desirable and exciting. For example, a recent Jaguar advert featured actor Sir Ben Kingsley and the caption “It’s good to be bad”. In this conception, speed is linked with being more focussed, more precise, always one step ahead, and obsessed by power.

If we contrast this with other road users, particularly children, our most vulnerable road users, we see that they are also obsessed with power, and love to go fast, but are inattentive and inexperienced, make mistakes and are clumsy, and take longer. Kids may be just as obsessed by power as speeding adults, but on the roads, they are powerless. They are vulnerable and need our protection. Speed remains the number one cause of crashes – it is our main battleground in road safety.

Unfortunately, many drivers do not see speed as a serious issue. Simple illustrations can help to bring home the point to those who are sceptical: for example, the below diagram, illustrating inertial speeds by using the metaphor of falling from a building.

falling-speeds-diagram

As all of us working in road safety know, there is no quick fix to reducing speeds. It takes a mixture of efforts to reduce speeds, for example: technology such as intelligent speed adaptation (ISA); road engineering such as separation of vehicles and pedestrians; changes to road rules such as 20mph (30km/h) speed limits; increased speed enforcement such as average speed cameras; and, last but certainly not least, education and awareness campaigns.

This last point is Brake’s major focus. As a campaigning charity, we: set out policy positions to influence government and other decision-makers; raise awareness through PR and media work; carry out education projects; fundraise; and provide much-needed services for the victims of road crashes.

Some question the efficacy of road safety education and campaigning. The answer to that is simple: if you don’t know walking is possible, you cannot take your first step. Campaigns enable governments, drivers and communities to know what safe measures are available and to work towards them. This is known as the ‘availability heuristic’, a mental shortcut that means people are more likely to think of things as important or persuasive if they already have examples in their mind.

For example, the US Department of Homeland Security has an annual budget of more than $40 billion, to combat the 100 terrorism-related deaths in the USA each year – this equates to $400,000,000 per death. By contrast, the US annual road safety budget is $1 billion, to combat 35,000 road deaths every year – working out at just $29,000 per death. This is due to the availability heuristic: most people consider terrorism a much greater threat than road death, due to the high reporting of terrorism in the media and its prominence in films and other popular culture. Road deaths are rarely reported simply because they are commonplace and so not often deemed newsworthy, creating a false impression that they are less of a threat than terrorism.

It is therefore vital that we in the road safety sector continue to talk about road risk, and speed in particular, as often as we can, to keep it at the forefront of people’s minds. There are several things that we as road safety campaigners can do to get this message across in the most effective way.

  • Smile: positive, encouraging messages are the best way to get people on our side.
  • Appeal to the widest audience: Brake doesn’t stand up for cyclists, or pedestrians, or any other one group – we stand up for people. We are all pedestrians at least some of the time, we all use the roads, so we all have a common interest in making sure our roads are safe.
  • Collaborate: there are lots of groups with an interest in road safety, including cycling campaigns and disability rights groups. We share common goals so should work together – the more people on our side, the fewer standing against us.
  • Peer-led education: road deaths affect whole communities, so first-person, locally-focused stories, such as Brake’s victim story videos, are very effective in bringing the message home.
  • Present information in many different ways: for example, interactive online tools and social media will help reach a wider audience than just static web pages or press releases distributed through traditional media channels.
  • Whole community engagement: in particular, getting kids involved in campaigning can be very effective. Children are our most vulnerable road users, and have a keen sense of right and wrong, so involving them in campaigns gives them a voice on issues that affect them directly. Campaigns like Brake’s Giant Walking Bus are a great example of ‘people power’, demonstrating that ordinary people care about safer streets as much as we do.
  • Fundraise:as well as supporting the lifesaving work that we do, our fundraising efforts help people to understand what we are trying to achieve, and understand that slower speeds are a cause, as much as cancer is a cause.
  • Focus on the message:the slower speeds message must be made appropriate and relevant to all audiences. It is especially important to have some messaging that targets children – ‘pester power’ is an incredibly important persuasive technique.

There is a behavioural theory known as ‘nudge’, which states that influencing behaviour in a positive direction, for example through setting a good example or packaging safe behaviour as desirable, is a more effective way to change behaviour than simply telling people what they should or shouldn’t do. Emphasising the positive aspects of slower speeds – slow is healthy, slow is relaxing, slow is seeing the world around you and being part of it – will help counter the message seen in adverts such as the one referenced at the start of this paper.

To be slow, drivers need to: know this is something they need to do; agreeto do it; intend to stick to this agreement; have the capacity to do so; and actually slow down. There are many internal and external pressures that can make this more difficult for drivers, as summarised in the table below.

External pressure

Internal pressure

Family has low safety standards

Poor value set and lifestyle

Peer pressure and circumstance

Thinks roads are safe and crash risk is low

Belief ‘others’ think bad behaviour is ok

Inflated opinion of ability / easily influenced

Other drivers / road design / no enforcement

Risk-taker and impulsive

Uncaring superiors and no community

Bad habits and law breaker

 

Work and home-life stresses

However, this doesn’t mean that influencing behaviour is an impossible task. For every negative pressure listed above, there are also positive pressures – as listed below.

External pressure

Internal pressure

Family has high safety standards

Positive values and lifestyle

Peer pressure and circumstance

Awareness of road danger and crash risk

Belief ‘others’ think road safety is important

Realistic opinion of ability and self-confident

Other drivers / road design / enforcement

Does not enjoy risk taking / not impulsive

Caring superiors and community

Good habits: law abiding

 

A calm life

People have the potential to make safe choices – we just need to influence them in the right direction, and allow people to follow their principles. Most people do want to be safe, and want to protect others – certainly no one wants to be responsible for a death or serious injury. People also want to connect with others, be part of a community, and look out for one another – slow is a way to do this.

Although we still have a long way to go in road safety, we should remember how far we’ve already come. We are making progress, through connecting with people: people have the power to change the world.

 

Brake welcomes revised HSE guidance on work-related road safety

 

Friday 25 April 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed revised guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on managing work-related road safety. The HSE’s ‘Driving at work: managing work-related road safety’ remains an essential guide for any organisation with employees who drive for work, and self-employed drivers in helping them prevent needless crashes and casualties and drive down costs.

The guidance has been fully reviewed and improved with examples of types of activities companies can use to manage road risk, and signposts to further information from Brake and other organisations. The guidance is available as a free download from hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf.  

At least one in four (26%) road casualties in Britain involve an at-work driver [1]. Many of these devastating events can be prevented through employers implementing tried and tested policies and practices. Many employers who effectively manage their road risk experience a range of benefits including improved staff morale and reputation, and significantly reduced costs.

Brake provides guidance and tools to organisations with staff who drive for work through its Fleet Safety Forum. Brake has recently produced an ‘Essential guide to fleet safety’ with the support of the Department for Transport, which can be read alongside Driving at work, specifically aimed at small businesses and employers starting out in road risk management. It’s available for free at brakepro.org/essential-guide.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Driving is the riskiest activity most employees engage in, and a huge proportion of devastating road casualties involve someone who’s driving on company time. It’s therefore essential that organisations with staff who drive for work are aware of the simple, low-cost steps they can take to protect their drivers and the public. I would urge all organisations with employees who drive on work time to read this updated HSE guidance, alongside Brake’s essential guide to fleet safety, to ensure their risk management policies and practices are up to date and in line with best practice.”

End notes

[1] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013

Notes to editor

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, a Fleet Safety Forumpractitioner services, and by coordinating the UK’s flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

The Fleet Safety Forum is a not-for-profit service for fleet managers run by Brake. Subscribers receive: free and discounted access to Brake's professional events; free training in Brake's Pledge to stop dangerous and unnecessary driving; e-bulletins containing the latest initiatives and research in fleet and road safety from across the globe; password access to the Brake Professional website containing guidance for managers and a host of resources for drivers; and posters. Annual subscription costs £155 +VAT. Subscribe at www.brakepro.org, call +44 (0)1484 559909 or email professional@brake.org.uk.

 

BrakeFest

infogrpahic

 We are looking for inspiring Brake supporters to organise a local event showcasing local talent, bringing the community together and to raise money towards preventing future road death and injury on our roads.

You can organise a gig, concert, comedy night, dance show, open mike night, busk or simply organise to have a bucket collection at a pre-arranged event.


We will promote ALL Brake Fest events to our Facebook and Twitter followers, to help you boost your attendance and maximize your money raised. We also have a section on this page to see what events are in your area.


Whether you’re a band wanting to organise a gig, go busking, or a theatre or dance group willing to put on a performance, get in touch and join Brake Fest!

Where can my event take place?

Anywhere in the UK (within reason!), it is up to you for find a venue/location for your event.

How do I register?

To register your event, simply fill out our online form here.

We’ll then be in touch to confirm details with you!

What resources will I receive?

Once you have let us know a little more about your event, we’ll provide you with a Brake Fest pack which includes;

  • Stickers
  • Balloons
  • Bucket Stickers
  • Leaflets
  • Posters
  • Brake Fest e-poster
  • Brake Fest social media flyer
  • Brake t-shirt
  • Press Release template
We will also be happy to provide you with headed letter confirming your event details to show to venues/suppliers.

Will you help promote my event?

Yes! We will promote all fundraising Brake Fest events on Facebook, twitter and on our events page here. When you register, we will also provide blank poster and social media banner which you can use to share your event on Facebook and Twitter. 

We will also provide you with a press release template to help promote your event with local media.

Do I need a licence to Busk?

Many local councils encourage busking and do not require a licence. However, there are different rules, regulations and code of conduct policies in place depending on where in the country you are.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/busking-licence to have a look at the rules in your area.

Does my event have to be in the summer?

Whilst we encourage events to happen over the summer to coincide with UK festival season, it is perfectly a fine to hold your event anytime throughout the year. 

Where do I send photos to my event?

You can use #BrakeFest or email them to fundraise@brake.org.uk.

How can I fundraise?

There are many ways you can fundraise at your Brake Fest event. The simplest way to raise money is to have a bucket on the door or in front of you as you busk. You may want to hold a raffle at your event to raise additional funds.

For bigger events you could sell tickets to raise money, ask the venue if you can have a percentage of the bar takings or run the cloakroom charging a small amount per item on the night to boost your total!

Do I have to organise my own event?

A good idea could be to piggyback on other events like open mic nights or comedy night and see if you can have a bucket on the door.

Is it all about music?

No – we encourage people to hold all sorts of performance events such as plays, shows, comedy nights or any other entertainment as part of Brake Fest.

I need Public Liability Insurance, can Brake help?

Brake are happy to point you in the right direction, but Brake is not responsible for your event.

You are responsible for obtaining any licenses required for your event. You will also be responsible for carrying out any health and safety risk assessment for your event (if required) and ensuring that all participants are fully briefed and adequately supervised.

 

If you have any queries or for more information, email fundraise@brake.org.uk or ring Joe on 01484 550060.

 

 

 

Broadcast interviews

Interview preparation

Ensure you know what’s happening.Make sure you know the type of interview (TV/radio, national/regional, pre-recorded/live), the show it’s on, if it’s just you they’re talking to, and of course you have full details of the story.

Be clear about what your headline messages are. It’s a good idea to come up with your top three and practise how you will get these across in interview. These are usually our main calls for behavioural or policy change. You need to know how to communicate these linked to the news story, eg ‘These survey results show XYZ. That’s why we’re calling on drivers everywhere to XYZ.’.

Have facts and figures preparedto back up your main messages, and work out how you’ll put these across effectively and clearly. Breaking stats down by day/week can help – five deaths per day is much easier for people to envisage than several thousand per year. Equally ‘two-thirds of drivers think this’ is easier to say and take in than ‘65% of drivers think this’. Ensure you’re familiar with general road safety facts in case you need them too.

Practise saying your main messages in an easy to say, easy to understand and powerful way. Statistics are the easiest thing to mess up in an interview. If you’re having trouble saying a statistic because it’s too complicated then you need to come up with a simpler fact to back up your point. Consider what phrases/language you’ll use to make people listen and believe in you (see below). You need to bear in mind that often people aren’t really paying attention to the news – you need to make them prick up their ears.

Consider what you’ll be asked and how to respond, especially to trickier questions. Make sure you’re able to get your main messages in to responses to likely questions. Your priority is communicating these messages and you may have limited time to do this, so you need to be able to get onto them quickly and smoothly.

Expect the unexpected! At any point an interviewer can divert into talking about a completely different aspect of road safety our work, so make sure you have a good overview of what we do. Use our website and newsletters to keep you informed of all our activities. But also have tactics ready to bring the interview back on track – phrases like ‘But our main focus through this campaign is....’ can help pull things back round.

Dress appropriately for TV:

-      Avoid complicated small patterns, eg. small checks on ties, and light blue outer clothing. Both can cause problems in studios.

-      Be clean and dress smartly, but there is no need to wear a suit. Modern smart casual is fine.

-      Avoid dressing all in grey or black. We are not a boring charity, and we need people to sit up and listen to our advice. Bright colours are good for grabbing attention Avoid green, as you could be in a studio where they project the background and the ‘base’ colour is green – so you could disappear!  At the same time, don’t wear something so outlandish that it could distract from what you’re saying!

-      If sitting on a sofa, remember that the camera may catch all of your body.

-      If offered make up, accept! They know what they are doing and will improve your appearance.

Language

Avoid at all costs the term accidents. Road crashes are not accidents: they are devastating and preventable events. The term accidents undermines work to improve road safety by suggesting crashes are chance/inevitable mishaps, and is highly offensive to most road crash victims. Never use it under any circumstances, other than to explain why we don’t use it!). Also avoid carcrashes (crashes involve all sorts of vehicles, not just cars).

Use instead – ‘road crashes’, ‘casualties’ and ‘death and injury on roads’

Do talk about death on the road being a major disasterand a daily tragedy.

Also refer to the importance of road safety to familiesand communities.

Use plain English, short sentences, and catchy adjectives – eg. ‘The sentence imposed is worryinglylow and despicableto the families bereaved in this terribletragedy. We hope the attorney general will consider it unduly lenient when he reviews it……’

Especially when relaying educational messages, your language should be inclusive and non-alienating, e.g. saying ‘we all need to…’ rather than ‘they should’ when talking about drivers. Phrases like ‘we would appeal to everyone/all drivers/young people to…’ can also work well, as can empowering statements like ‘all drivers can play a part in preventing these tragedies, by committing to slowing down/never using a mobile phone while driving.’

Make sure your messages are clear and specific. It’s pretty meaningless telling people to drive carefully or watch out, because everyone thinks they are doing this anyway. It’s much better to say ‘stay well within speed limits, slow down to 20 or below around homes, schools and shops, and look twice for bikes at junctions’ etc.

Don’t only focus on negatives. Speak positively and encouragingly about road safety, eg highlighting the difference drivers can make to communities by simply slowing down, and how this can benefit people’s health and happiness, as well as preventing needless tragedies. Welcome steps forward – don’t just focus on things not going far enough, eg ‘This is an important step in the right direction, but ultimately we want the government to go further than this...’

When giving statistics, do so in a way that is meaningful and accessible to the average person – breaking stats down to every day or week is much easier to grasp than talking about bigger annual statistics. It can also be helpful to give analogies, like saying ‘that’s a class full of children’ or ‘it’s the equivalent to a plane full of people crashing once a month and everyone on board being killed’.

Criminal investigation and charges

Information and advice on the police investigation; the Public Prosecution Service and your right to be heard; criminal charges.

The police investigation

A death on the road is investigated by the police. The police have a duty to try to find out what happened by gathering evidence. A police investigation can take several months.

Giving a statement

The police may take statements from a number of different people. If you were involved in the crash, you saw the crash, or you saw vehicles before or after the crash, you may be asked to give a statement. If you were not involved in the crash, but knew the movements of a loved one on the day they died, you may be asked to give a statement too. If you give a statement, the police will write down and may record what you say.

If you have made a statement, a lawyer, or more than one lawyer, may want to interview you too. This is an essential part of the investigation and helps lawyers understand the evidence you are providing. Your contact details remain confidential - they cannot be given to someone accused of a crime.

It may be possible for a relative or friend to attend an interview with you to offer support. If you want to be accompanied ask if this is possible. If you have particular communication needs you may also be entitled to assistance from an interpreter or intermediary (someone who helps communicate to you questions the police ask, and communicate back your answers).

If you give a statement, you may or may not be required, at a later date, to give evidence in court. See the ‘Court cases’ page for information about giving evidence in court and support to help you do this.

Physical evidence

Crash investigation officers, who are usually specially-trained police officers, or employees of other specialist agencies, investigate a crash in order to identify the cause and obtain evidence. These experts may photograph, measure and video the scene of a crash and examine vehicles involved. They may examine belongings of people in the crash, such as mobile phones.

Medical evidence

Medical evidence may be provided by personnel who tended to a loved one at the crash or in hospital, and by the pathologist who did the post-mortem examination. Medical evidence can include alcohol and drug tests on drivers involved.

If the crash involved someone driving for work

If the crash involved someone driving for work, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) may get involved in the investigation. HSENI inspectors aim to identify any failure by an employer to ensure effective health and safety procedures were in place and followed. The investigation will usually be conducted jointly with the police. The police will be able to tell you if the HSENI are involved. The HSENI can take enforcement action against an employer. For more information about the HSENI go to www.hseni.gov.uk.

The police report

If the police investigation finds any evidence that suggests a crime may have been committed, this evidence is compiled into a report that is sent to the Public Prosecution Service, the agency responsible for bringing prosecutions (see below). The report is also sent to the coroner. You are not automatically entitled to see this report but you may be able to get a copy. You may only be able to get a copy after any criminal proceedings have finished.

If you wish to get a copy, you or a solicitor you are using can ask the police. You may or may not have to pay for it. If there is a charge, and you are pursuing a claim for compensation, your solicitor may be able to reclaim the charge as part of your claim.

Before reading a police report, you may want to ask your solicitor or the police what it contains. Police reports often contain photographs taken at the time of the crash and sometimes detailed interviews with eye witnesses. It will be possible for the police or your solicitor to remove anything you don’t wish to see or read.

Standards have been set for fatal road crash investigations in a police document called the Authorised Professional Practice (APP): Investigation of fatal and serious road collisions

The Public Prosecution Service

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in Northern Ireland. It works from regional offices.

If the police investigation indicates that the conduct of someone, or several people, or in some cases a company, amounted to a crime, the police will submit an investigation file to the PPS. The PPS will then review the case and decide whether or not to prosecute. The purpose of a criminal prosecution is to find out if someone has broken the law and appropriately sentence them.

PPS lawyers, called public prosecutors, apply two key tests when deciding whether a person should be prosecuted:

  1. There must be sufficient evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction. This means that it is more likely than not that the person will be convicted. (This is different to the way a court decides whether to convict a person. A court should convict someone only if there is enough evidence to make the court sure they are guilty.)
  1. If there is enough evidence, it must also be in the public interest to prosecute. If someone has died as a result of a crime, a prosecution is normally in the public interest.

Following a review of the evidence, the PPS selects the most appropriate charge to reflect the seriousness and extent of any offending.

The PPS acts on behalf of the public interest, not on behalf of victims or victims’ families. However, when deciding if a prosecution is in the public interest, the public prosecutors should take into account any views that you or others have expressed in Victim Personal Statements (see below).

Whether or not a criminal prosecution will happen in your case depends on the circumstances of the crash.

If the PPS plans to issue a summons for an offence that can only be dealt with in a Magistrates’ Court, they must do so within six months of evidence of the date of the offence, or within six months of evidence of the offence becoming known to them. More serious charges can be brought later.

Victim and Witness Care Unit

To help you understand the prosecution process, you should be appointed a case officer who works for a Victim and Witness Care Unit (VWCU). The VWCU is run by the PPS and the police. Your police contact should let you know when the VWCU has received details about your case. You can contact the VWCU yourself or you can ask your police contact to contact the VWCU on your behalf.

You should receive a letter from the PPS within 10 days of a suspect being charged by the police or within 10 days of the police submitting an investigation file. This letter should give you information about the role of the PPS, the judicial process, how you can request a meeting and other agencies that can support you.

Your VWCU case officer should keep you informed, using your preferred means of contact (telephone, letter or email) and at a preferred time of day where possible, about:

  • whether there has been a decision to prosecute or not;
  • court proceedings;
  • the outcome of a prosecution and any appeal.

If the PPS decides not to prosecute, it must say why. You should be informed of this decision and given reasons by your VWCU case officer. You can ask for more detailed information about the decision and request a meeting with the PPS. You can also ask the PPS to review its decision.

Victims Personal Statements

If a decision is taken to prosecute someone for a crime committed against you, then you can choose to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS). This gives you an opportunity to explain in writing, before sentence is imposed, how the crash has affected your life, physically, emotionally, socially, financially, or in any other way. You can write your own VPS or someone else can help you write down what you want to say.

A VPS becomes part of the case papers and may be read out in court. You will not be asked to read out your VPS in court. You may be asked questions about the content of your statement by the judge or the defence lawyers. As part of their sentencing comments, the judge may talk about your VPS. If you do not want your comments to be talked about in court, you should say this in your statement.

You do not have to make a victim statement if you do not want to. It will not damage a case in any way or affect whether anyone is found guilty or not guilty of a crime.

If you wish to make a VPS, please talk to your police contact or a charity that supports victims of crime.

Victim Support NI is one independent charity that can help you prepare your VPS. Their help is free and confidential. Call 028 9024 4039.

Charging someone and the possibility of bail

Someone who is charged with an offence is often called ‘the accused’. The accused person may be arrested by the police and taken to a police station to be charged. Alternatively, the accused person may be issued with a court summons requiring them to attend court. The summons describes the offence and the date and venue of the first court hearing.

An accused person may be remanded in custody (imprisoned) or given bail (allowed to remain free before their case is heard). The accused will be granted bail unless the court has reason to believe they:

  • would not attend a court appearance;
  • would commit an offence while on bail;
  • would interfere with witnesses;
  • would obstruct the course of justice.

People on bail are required to:

  • turn up, when required, to court hearings;
  • comply with the law;
  • not interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice;
  • make themselves available to the court as and when necessary.

Conditions may be attached to bail, such as limiting where the accused can live, or preventing them coming near you or your home or near someone else. A person on bail can also be electronically tagged. A court may require an accused person to refrain from driving as a condition of bail, but only if it considers that it is necessary to prevent the accused person from committing further offences. Otherwise, an accused person who is on bail and who possesses a valid driving licence will be allowed to continue driving while awaiting trial. It may or may not be possible to disqualify an accused person later if they are convicted in court.

The accused person may apply for bail at different stages of the case, even if it has been refused earlier. The accused may appeal against a decision not to grant bail. If bail is still refused on appeal, the accused can ask for the decision to be reviewed, but only if there is good reason. If bail is granted, the prosecution can only appeal against the decision in rare circumstances.

If the accused is granted bail and their behaviour causes you concern, for example you see them driving in a way that you consider dangerous, or if they threaten you, report it immediately to your police contact.

Changes to charges

Sometimes, if the accused is facing a serious charge, the lawyers representing the accused ask the PPS for the charge to be changed to a less serious charge, on the basis of the evidence of the case. This request can happen before a case goes to trial.

The PPS may decide to continue prosecuting the accused for the serious charge or may reduce the charge. Their decision is based on the evidence and what is in the public interest.

Criminal charges that may follow death on the road

Below we list some of the criminal charges that are available to the PPS following death on the road, and maximum penalties. Many people find it helpful to know that:

  • Maximum penalties are fixed by law and vary for different charges, sometimes significantly. Courts often impose penalties lower than the maximum.
  • Some charges mention the death or deaths, but others do not. Sometimes the only charges that can be brought by the PPS do not mention the death or deaths.
  • Sometimes several charges are brought, sometimes against different people.

Brake’s helpline on 0808 8000 401 is for anyone who has been bereaved in a road crash, whether you contributed to causing the crash or not.

Causing death or grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving

Article 9 of the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1995 (SI 1995 No. 2994 NI 18)

The law states that: ‘A person who causes the death of, or grievous bodily injury to, another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.’

The definition of dangerous driving is that:

  1. the way a person drove fell far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and
  2. it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous. It is also dangerous driving if it would have been obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving a vehicle in its current state (for example, with defective brakes or other defective safety-critical components) would be dangerous.

This offence is tried in a Crown Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of 14 years and/or an unlimited fine. The driver must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of two years unless there are special reasons not to disqualify. The court must also order the driver to be disqualified until s/he passes the appropriate driving test. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, the driver’s licence must be endorsed with between three and 11 penalty points.

Causing death or grievous bodily injury by careless or inconsiderate driving

Article 11A of the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1995 (as introduced by article 52 of the Criminal Justice (NI) Order 2008)

The law states that: ‘A person who causes the death of, or grievous bodily injury to, another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, is guilty of an offence. ’

The law distinguishes between ‘dangerous’ driving and ‘careless or inconsiderate’ driving. The definition of careless and inconsiderate driving is that the standard of a person’s driving fell below (rather than far below) what would be expected of a careful and competent driver.

This offence can be tried in either a Crown Court or a Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of five years and an unlimited fine in the Crown Court, or a prison sentence of six months and a maximum fine of £5,000 in a Magistrates’ Court. The driver must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of one year. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, their driver’s licence must be endorsed with between three and 11 penalty points.

Causing death or grievous bodily injury by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs

Article 14 of the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1995

The law states that: 'If a person causes the death of, or grievous bodily injury to, another by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, and he is, at the time when driving, unfit to drive through drink or drugs, or he has consumed so much alcohol that the proportion in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit, or he is required to provide a specimen but without reasonable excuse fails to provide it, or he is required by a constable to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of blood but without reasonable excuse fails to do so, he is guilty of an offence.'

If a driver is proven to have had more than the legal limit for alcohol in their system at the time of the crash, the prosecution does not have to prove the driver’s driving ability was impaired.

This offence is tried in a Crown Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of 14 years and an unlimited fine. Anyone convicted must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of two years unless there are special reasons not to disqualify. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, their licence must be endorsed with between three and 11 penalty points.

Causing death or grievous bodily injury by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers

Article 12B of the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1995 (as introduced by Article 53 of the Criminal Justice (NI) Order 2008)

The law states that: ‘A person is guilty of an offence under this Article if he causes the death of, or grievous bodily injury to, another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road and, at the time when he is driving, the circumstances are such that he is committing an offence under –

(a)    Article 3(1) of the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981 (driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence),

(b)    Article 90 of that Order (using a motor vehicle while uninsured or unsecured against third party risks), or

(c)     Article 168A(1)(c) of that Order (driving while disqualified).’

It is possible that a driver may not be charged with this offence if their driving was without fault (for example, if the person they hit and killed caused the collision themselves because they were drink driving). In 2013 a judge ruled that driving without a licence or insurance would not be enough to hold the driver criminally responsible for causing a death if their driving was otherwise blameless.

This offence can be tried in either a Crown Court or a Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of two years and an unlimited fine in the Crown Court, or a prison sentence of six months and a maximum fine of £5,000 in a Magistrates’ Court. The driver must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of one year. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, the driver’s licence must be endorsed with between three and 11 penalty points.

Murder and manslaughter charges

Common Law

Murder is committed when there was intention to kill a victim or cause grievous bodily harm. This would mean that the driver had purposefully used their vehicle as a weapon. Charges of murder are rarely brought against drivers following a fatal road crash.

There are two types of manslaughter charge that could be brought against a driver who has caused death. ‘Unlawful act manslaughter’ is committed when the accused caused loss of life through an illegal action, such as using a vehicle to attack or frighten someone (but with no intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm).

‘Gross negligence manslaughter’ is committed when it is proven that the accused’s driving: caused the victim’s death; fell far below the standard of a careful and competent driver; involved an obvious and serious risk of death; and was a gross breach of a ‘duty of care’ owed by the driver to the person who died. Gross negligence manslaughter is a very serious charge and is only appropriate in cases where evidence shows that the accused’s driving was highly likely to cause a death.

The offences of murder and manslaughter are tried in a Crown Court. Murder carries a mandatory life sentence. Manslaughter has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Anyone convicted must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of two years and then required to pass a driving test to regain a full driving licence, unless there are special reasons not to disqualify. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, their driver’s licence must be endorsed with between three and 11 penalty points.

Wanton or furious driving causing bodily harm

Section 35, Offences against the Person Act 1861 (as amended by the Road Safety Act 2006, section 28)

Bad driving offences under the Road Traffic Act must involve a motorised vehicle, and take place on a public road or in a public place. By contrast, the offences of ‘Wanton or furious driving causing bodily harm’, as well as the offences of murder or manslaughter, do not have these restrictions. They can be committed even if the offender is using a non-motorised vehicle, such as a bicycle. They can also be committed wherever the driving takes place, including on private land. This offence is normally only directed by the PPS when it is not possible to prosecute an offence under the road traffic legislation.

This offence is tried in the Crown Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of two years and/or an unlimited fine. Anyone convicted of this offence will not be disqualified from driving, but their driver’s licence will be endorsed with between three and nine penalty points.

Corporate manslaughter and corporate homicide

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

The law states that: ‘An organisation is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised: (a) causes a person’s death, and (b) amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.’

A ‘duty of care’ is defined as a duty owed by an organisation to its employees or contractors, a duty owed as the occupier of premises or other duties described in law that relate to the running of the organisation.

An organisation is guilty of a ‘gross breach’ of a relevant duty of care if its conduct fell far below what would be reasonably expected. For example, if a company failed to ensure a vehicle it was operating had serviced brakes, and the vehicle lost control and killed someone.

This offence is tried in a Crown Court, and the director of the PPS must give consent for the trial to take place. Any penalty is against the company, not individuals working for the company. The court may impose an unlimited fine. The court may also impose a remedial order (where an organisation must make changes to prevent future breaches of health and safety laws) and a publicity order (where an organisation must publicise the details of its offence).

Gross negligence manslaughter by company employees

Common Law

Individuals within companies can be prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter (see page 45) if their actions were criminal and directly led to a fatal crash. For example, if a boss of a lorry company told a driver not to take their legally-required rest breaks and the driver fell asleep at the wheel, or if they told their mechanic not to replace worn brakes on a lorry and these brakes failed. Companies can also be prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter if an individual found guilty of the offence plays a significant role in the management of the organisation’s activities.

If an individual is found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. If a company is found guilty, it can receive an unlimited fine.

Aggravated vehicle taking (often called ‘joy riding’ in the media)

Article 172B, Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981

This offence is committed when a person takes a vehicle without the owner's consent or other lawful authority for his own or another's use, or, knowing that any vehicle has been taken without such authority, drives it or allows himself to be carried in it or on it and at any time after the vehicle was unlawfully taken, whether by them or by another, and before it was recovered:

(a)    the vehicle was driven dangerously on a road or other public place; or

(b)    owing to the driving of the vehicle, injury or death was caused to any person; or

(c)     owing to the driving of the vehicle, damage was caused to any property other than the vehicle; or

(d)    owing to the driving of the vehicle, damage was caused to the vehicle.

The offence is tried in a Crown Court or Magistrates' Court. The maximum sentence in a Crown Court is 14 years' imprisonment if a death was caused and an unlimited fine. The maximum sentence in a Magistrates' Court is six months' imprisonment and a £5,000 fine. The driver must be disqualified for a minimum of one year. If dangerous driving was proven the convicted person must pass an extended driving test before a full driving licence can be obtained. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, the driver’s licence must be endorsed with between three and 11 penalty points.

Failing to stop or report an accident (often called ‘hit and run’ in the media)

Article 175, Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981

A driver involved in a crash causing death, injury or damage is required to stop, remain at the scene and give their details. If they don’t, they are required to report the crash to a police officer ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. This offence is committed if a driver doesn't do this.

Offences under this section are tried in a Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of six months and a fine of £5,000. The driver can be disqualified from driving. If not, their licence must be endorsed with five to 10 penalty points.

Charges for killing someone by using a defective vehicle

If an unsafe vehicle (for example, a vehicle with defective brakes) has caused a death, then a charge, or range of charges, depending on the case, may be brought against the driver, the owner of the vehicle if different (for example, the boss of a company running a fleet of vehicles), or anyone else considered responsible.

It may be possible, for example, to bring charges of causing death or grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving (see above), aiding and abetting (see below), or corporate manslaughter (see above).

There may be a charge of failing to comply with Construction and Use Regulations. These impose requirements relating to safety critical components such as brakes, tyres, lights, steering, tachographs (which record driving time of commercial vehicles) and speed limiters (which restrict speed on commercial vehicles).

In addition, bosses of lorry and bus companies must hold a special licence issued by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, Transport Licensing and Enforcement Branch. The Department has the power to take these licences away from bosses who break safety rules.

Breaches of Construction and Use Regulations are heard in a Magistrates' Court. There is a range of maximum fines which can be imposed for different Construction and Use offences, the highest of which is £5,000. It may also be possible to disqualify an offender from running a company.

Charges that do not mention death or injury

The following charges do not mention death or injury, but are sometimes brought against a driver who was involved in a fatal crash:

  • Dangerous driving
    Article 10 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995; and
  • Careless or inconsiderate driving
    Article 12 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

In some cases, there is evidence that a driver was driving dangerously or carelessly before or after the crash, but there is no evidence to prove dangerous or careless driving at the time of the crash. In these cases, the PPS may only be able to bring charges of dangerous driving or careless driving, rather than the more serious charges of ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ or ‘causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving’.

Dangerous driving can be tried in either a Crown Court or a Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of five years and an unlimited fine in the Crown Court, or a prison sentence of six months and a fine of £5,000 in a Magistrates’ Court. The driver must be disqualified from driving for a minimum of one year unless there are special reasons to impose a shorter disqualification or no disqualification. The driver must pass an extended driving test before they can regain a full driving licence.

Careless or inconsiderate driving is tried in a Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty is a fine of £5,000. The driver can be disqualified from driving, or, if not, their licence must be endorsed with between three and nine penalty points.

Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence

Article 3(1) the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981

A person commits this offence if they drive when they do not hold a driving licence, or if they do not comply with the conditions of their licence.

This offence is tried in a Magistrates' Court. The maximum sentence is a fine of £1,000 and three to six penalty points. The driver may be disqualified.

Driving while disqualified

Article 168A(1)(c) the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981

If a person drives during a period when they are disqualified from driving they commit this offence.

When tried in the Crown Court, the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. If tried in a Magistrates' Court, the maximum sentence is six months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to £5,000. The driver can be disqualified from driving. In rare cases where the driver is not disqualified, the driver’s licence must be endorsed with six penalty points.

Driving without motor insurance

Article 90 the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981

If a person drives a vehicle on a road, or any other public place without motor insurance, they have committed this offence.

This offence is tried in a Magistrates' Court. The maximum sentence is a fine of up to £5,000 and six months’ imprisonment. The driver may be disqualified from driving or the driving licence endorsed with between six and eight penalty points. However, if the driver is being tried for additional serious offences it may be heard in the Crown Court together with those offences.

Aiding and abetting

Someone who encourages another person to commit an offence may also be guilty of that offence. For example, if a passenger in a vehicle encourages the driver to drive dangerously, the passenger may be guilty of aiding and abetting the dangerous driving. Generally, the same penalties apply, although length of licence disqualification may differ. This can also apply in the case of a company that uses drivers (such as a lorry or bus operator) and allowed those drivers to drive dangerously, or use vehicles in a dangerous condition. The company, or a manager within the company, may be charged.

Bringing a private prosecution

It is sometimes possible for a member of the public, rather than the PPS, to prosecute another person for a criminal offence. This is called a private prosecution. This process is very costly and you cannot claim legal aid. The PPS has the authority to take over any private prosecution and either continue or discontinue its prosecution. All cases in the Crown Court have to be prosecuted by the PPS.

Sometimes, the government introduces new offences, or changes the definition of an offence, or changes an offence’s maximum penalty.

Further information on all charges can be found in a document called Road Traffic Policy


Click to go to the next section of this guide: Court Cases or go to the contents page.

Emergency admission to hospital

A seriously ill or injured person is usually taken to the accident and emergency department of a hospital by ambulance. They are taken to the nearest hospital with the most appropriate facilities. On arrival, a patient is taken to an area sometimes called the resuscitation room. This does not necessarily mean that your loved one needs to be resuscitated. A standard assessment, which checks a patient's airway, breathing and circulation, is carried out, along with any necessary further examinations and treatment.

There is always an accident and emergency doctor and a senior nurse in the resuscitation room. Further staff will help as required. If a patient needs an operation urgently they may go straight to the operating theatre. If a patient is in a very serious condition, possibly life-threatening, they are often taken to an intensive care unit.

You may have arrived at the hospital while the assessment of your loved one's condition was taking place. Time can pass very slowly when waiting for news. Family and friends are usually shown to a waiting room and informed of what is happening as soon as possible.

What is an intensive care unit?
Patients whose conditions are life-threatening, either through serious injury or illness, need constant, close monitoring. They often need equipment and medicine to support normal bodily functions. This care is provided in an intensive care unit (ICU) which is sometimes called an intensive therapy unit or a critical care unit. Each ICU is run by a senior nurse who manages an ICU team. There are more nurses than on an ordinary ward.

Some hospitals have separate departments for people with particular problems. Occasionally it is necessary to move a patient to a unit in another hospital to provide specialist care. The length of time patients stay in an ICU depends on the extent of their illness or injuries. Some patients recover fairly quickly, others may remain in the ICU for weeks. Recovery is not possible in all cases and sometimes a patient dies.

What happens when a patient is taken to an ICU?
When a patient is brought to an ICU it can take more than an hour for the doctors and nurses to assess the patient's condition, make them as comfortable as possible and attach them to the necessary equipment. It is normal to have to wait during this time. This can be frustrating but it is important that the ICU staff stabilise the patient's condition. A member of staff will explain what is happening as soon as possible.

Visting an Intensive Care Unit

What an ICU looks like
ICUs can vary in size. They may be small with four to six beds or they may be larger with twelve or more beds. ICUs do not have separate male and female sections but efforts are made to ensure that privacy and dignity are maintained.

Entering an ICU
To enter an ICU you may need to press a buzzer and speak to a receptionist or nurse on an intercom. Some ICUs have a reception desk near the entrance. Unless you are told otherwise, you should always check with a member of staff before entering. When you enter an ICU, you may be asked to wash your hands and you may need to wear a facemask to prevent the spread of germs.

Is an ICU noisy?
The noise levels in an ICU can vary but it can be quite noisy, especially during the day. There may be beeping noises from equipment and even an occasional alarm sound. This is normal and does not necessarily mean something is wrong.

Intensive care units may be found in hospital buildings that are old or new. The age of the building has no bearing on standard of care, which should be uniformly high.

Will I recognise my loved one?
Your loved one may look very different from the last time you saw them. Their body may be bruised or swollen if they have suffered injuries. They may be attached to lots of equipment. The ICU staff will be able to tell you what to expect.

Can I touch my loved one?
Tubes and wires often surround a patient in an ICU. It is usually possible to touch your loved one but it is a good idea to check with a nurse first.

Can I talk to my loved one?
Patients in ICUs are often unconscious, at least during the early part of their treatment. This is often because they are being given drugs to make them sleepy and comfortable. Patients who are conscious may appear sleepy or confused. A patient may be able to hear even if they cannot respond. Nursing and medical staff usually talk to unconscious patients to tell them what is happening. Feel free to talk to your loved one and let them know you are there.

It is normal to feel upset at seeing someone you love in an ICU. It is understandable if you experience strong emotions or find it hard to cope. The staff are there to answer any questions you may have. You may find it helpful to have someone with you who can offer you support.

Click here to go to the next section of this guide - Equipment in an Intensive Care Unit

Emotional support

A sudden illness, injury, or death of a loved one can be emotionally and physically draining. If you need someone to talk to straight away, you can call the Samaritans on 0845 790 9090. The Samaritans is a helpline, open 24 hours a day for anyone in need. It is staffed by trained volunteers who will listen sympathetically. You can also contact the Samaritans by emailing jo@samaritans.org.

You may find hospital staff or your GP offer you and/or your loved one the chance to see a counsellor to talk about what has happened. If not, you can ask for an appointment. Some professional carers, who may be counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists or psychiatrists, have expertise in caring for someone who has been affected by a traumatic event. They can help you and your loved one talk about your experiences and reactions and ways to cope and feel stronger. You may wish to ask if you can talk to someone who specialises in this. Care from these  specialists can be free if your GP refers you. If your GP does not refer you, you may have to pay for the care yourself. The organisations listed on this page hold lists of professional carers who specialise in helping people who have been through a traumatic event.

Organisations that can put you in touch with professional carers

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
BACP House, 35-37 Albert Street Rugby CV21 2SG
Tel: 0870 443 5252
Email: bacp@bacp.co.uk
Website: www.bacp.co.uk

Disaster Aftercare Services
PO Box 65, Cheltenham, Gloucester GL50 4YR
Tel: 0870 765 0368
Email: dascare@aol.com

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy
167 – 169 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PF
Tel: 020 7436 3002
Email: ukcp@psychotherapy.org.uk
Website: www.psychotherapy.org.uk

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
Globe Centre, PO Box 9, Accrington BB5 2GD
Tel: 01254 875277
Email: babcp@babcp.org.uk
Website: www.babcp.com

You may wish to contact a local organisation that can offer support. You can ask the nursing staff, a social worker or chaplain for information. You may also wish to contact a national organisation that specialises in providing support to people who have been affected by a certain type of death, illness or injury. Details of these organisations are given on the next few pages.

Organisations supporting people bereaved by any cause:

If your partner has died:

If a child or a child's relative has died:

Support following a road death or injury

Brake
The road safety charity provides support to bereaved and injured road crash victims through a helpline and care literature, including this booklet.

Brake, PO Box 548, Huddersfield HD1 2XZ
Tel: 01484 559909 Helpline: 0808 8000401
Email: helpline@brake.org.uk
Website: www.brake.org.uk

RoadPeace
Provides information and support to bereaved and injured road crash victims.

PO Box 2579, London NW10 3PW
Helpline: 0845 4500 355
Email: info@roadpeace.org
Website: www.roadpeace.org

Support & Care After Road Death and Injury (SCARD)
Offers information and support to anyone affected by road death or injury.

PO Box 62, Brighouse HD6 3YY
Tel: 0845 123 5541 Helpline: 0845 123 5543
Email: info@scard.org.uk
Website: www.scard.org.uk

The Campaign Against Drinking and Driving (CADD)
Supports bereaved and injured people who have been affected by drunk drivers and educates drivers about the dangers of drink-driving.

PO Box 62, Brighouse HD6 3YY
Tel: 0845 123 5541
Email: cadd@scard.org.uk

Support for victims of crime

Victim Support
Provides information and support to people affected by crime through local branches and trained volunteers.

Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London SW9 6DZ
Tel: 020 7735 9166
Email: contact@victimsupport.org
Website: www.victimsupport.org.uk

Support After Murder And Manslaughter (SAMM)
Provides support to families bereaved by murder or manslaughter.

Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London SW9 6DZ
Telephone: 020 7735 3838
Email: enquiries@samm.org.uk
Website: www.samm.org.uk

Support for chest, heart and stroke illnesses

British Heart Foundation (BHF)
Offers a range of resources and has a network of support groups for patients and families affected by heart problems.

14 Fitzharding Street, London W1H 4DH
Tel: 020 7935 0185
Website: www.bhf.org.uk

British Lung Foundation (BLF)
Offers Breath Easy support groups for anyone with lung problems.

73-75 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7ER
Tel: 020 7688 5555
Email: info@blf-uk.org
Website: www.lunguk.org

Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland
Trained nurses offer information and advice. They can refer you to local support groups for people with chest, heart and stroke illnesses.

65 North Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3LT
Tel: 0131 225 6963
Advice line: 0845 077 6000 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-4.00pm)
Email: admin@chss.org.uk
Website: www.chss.org.uk

Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke Association
Provides information and advice to people in Northern Ireland.

21 Dublin Road, Belfast BT2 7HB
Tel: 028 9032 0184 Advice line: 0345 697299 (Mon-Fri 9.00am-2.00pm)
Email: mail@nichs.org.uk
Website: www.nichs.org.uk

The Stroke Association, Stroke Information Service
Provides support and information on publications and services available to individuals and families affected by a stroke.

240 City Road, London EC1V 2PR
Tel: 020 7566 0300 Helpline: 0845 3033 100 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm)
Email: stroke@stroke.org.uk
Website: www.stroke.org.uk

Support for head and spinal injuries

Brain and Spine Foundation
Provides information and support to brain and spine injured people.

7 Winchester House, Kennington Park Cranmer Road, London SW9 6EJ
Tel: 0207 793 5900 Helpline: 0808 808 1000
Email: info@brainandspine.org.uk
Website: www.brainandspine.org.uk

Child Brain Injury Trust
Provides information and suport to children and young people with a brain injury, their families and the professionals who support them.

Unit 1, The Great Barn, Baynards Green Farm, Near Bicester, Oxfordshire OX27 7SG
Tel: 01869 341 075
Helpline: 0303 303 2248 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
Email: helpline@cbituk.org

Headway (The National Head Injuries Association)
Provides information and support to adults with a head injury and their carers, through support groups, day care centres and literature.

4 King Edward Court, King Edward Street, Nottingham NG1 1EW
Tel: 0115 924 0800 Helpline: 0808 800 2244
Email: enquiries@headway.org.uk
Website: www.headway.org.uk

Spinal Injuries Association (SIA)
Provides information and advice for people with spinal cord injuries.

Suite J, 3rd Floor, Acorn House, 387-391 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3HP
Tel: 0800 980 0501
Email: sia@spinal.co.uk
Website: www.spinal.co.uk

BackCare
Provides information on back conditions and managing back pain.

16 Elmtree Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 8ST
Tel: 020 8977 5474
Email: website@backcare.org.uk
Website: www.backcare.org.uk

Support for sight, hearing and speech impairment

Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
Provides information and support for anyone with impaired sight.

105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
Tel: 020 7388 1266 Helpline: 0845 766 9999 (Mon-Fri, 9am–5pm)
Email: helpline@rnib.org.uk
Website: www.rnib.org.uk

Royal National Institute for the Deaf (now known as Action Hearing Loss)
Offers information on a range of issues relating to deafness and hearing loss.

19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL
Tel: 0808 808 0123 Textphone: 0808 808 9000
Email: informationline@rnid.org.uk
Website: www.rnid.org.ukwww.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
Provides general advice and information on local NHS speech and language therapy services.

2 White Hart Lane, London SE1 1NX
Telephone: 020 7378 1200
Email: postmaster@rcslt.org
Website: www.rcslt.org

Support for burns or disfiguring injuries

Changing Faces
Supports adults and children living with a disfiguring injury.

1 & 2 Junction Mews, London W2 1PN
Tel: 0845 4500 275
Email: info@changingfaces.co.uk
Website: www.changingfaces.org.uk

The Children's Burns Trust
Offers information and support about rehabilitation of children following severe burns.

Cayzer House, 30 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6NN
Tel: 020 7802 8464
Email: info@cbtrust.org.uk
Website: www.cbtrust.org.uk

Support for people with a disability

Dial UK
A network of local services run by and for disabled people.

St. Catherine's Hospital, Tickhill Road, Doncaster DN4 8QN
Tel: 01302 310123
Email: enquiries@dialuk.org.uk
Website: www.dialuk.org.uk

Disabled Living Foundation
Provides advice and information on living equipment for disabled people.

380-384 Harrow Road, London W9 2HU
Tel: 020 7289 6111 Helpline: 0845 130 9177
Email: dlfinfo@dlf.org.uk
Website: www.dlf.org.uk

Limbless Association
Provides information and support for people without one or more limbs.

Rehabilitation Centre, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PR
Tel: 020 8788 1777 Helpline: 0845 230 0025
Email: enquiries@limbless-association.org
Website: www.limbless-association.org

Information on legal matters

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
An association representing solicitors who specialise in claiming money following death or injury.

Tel: 0115 958 0585
Website: www.apil.org.uk

The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS)
A national association representing solicitors who specialise in claims following death or injury in a road crash.

Tel: 0117 929 2560
Website: www.mass.org.uk

The Law Society
Offers information and advice on choosing and using a solicitor.

Tel: 0207 242 1222
Website: www.lawsociety.org.uk

Accident Line (run for the Law Society)

Freephone: 0500 192939

Essential guide to road safety for small businesses can help cut costs and save lives

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on small businesses with employees who drive for work to explore how they can cut costs and improve road safety, using its free comprehensive guide. The guide is published through Brake's Fleet Safety Forum with the support of the Department for Transport.

At-work road crashes are estimated to cost UK employers £2.7 billion a year [1]. For any business with staff who drive for work, improving employees' safety on the roads is essential in bringing down costs and preventing catastrophe. Preventing crashes, bumps and scrapes can deliver multiple business benefits like lowering insurance premiums, improving reputation and staff morale, and reducing lost time.

The guide outlines practical, low-cost steps small businesses can take to save money, and protect their employees and the wider community from the devastation a crash can cause. It includes first steps in drawing up a policy and communicating safe driving messages to drivers, with sample policies and links to downloadable tools and further guidance.

It contains case studies from organisations that have successfully reduced their road risk and benefitted their business as a result. It covers how to: measure and benchmark fleet safety; gain senior buy-in; manage and reduce risk to drivers, vehicles, and journeys; and continually improve fleet safety.

To request a free copy of the guide, fill out a short form and it will be emailed to you instantly.

Laura Woods, research and information officer at Brake, said: "Ensuring the safety of staff driving on work time can deliver significant business benefits, including reduced insurance premiums and improved reputation. Driving is the riskiest thing most people do at work, so it's vital for businesses of any size to manage this risk. It can be daunting for smaller organisations to start putting in place effective fleet safety practices, but this guide sets out clearly where to begin and tried and tested methods. It also directs you to lots of useful tools available from Brake and other agencies. I would urge all small businesses with employees who drive on work time to use this guide to drive down their road risk, saving money and lives."

[1] Insurance for Small Businesses: a guide to protecting your business, Association of British Insurers, 2008.

Brake

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaignscommunity education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Families releasing photos of victims to the media

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Below, we tell the stories of two mothers who have suffered the horrific experience of bereavement through a road crash who have taken the step of releasing to the media pictures of their loved ones as they lay in their hospital beds. In one case, the 20 year old young woman was already dead when the photograph was taken. In the other, the young boy was critically ill when he was photographed and died shortly afterwards. We take a look at the terrible circumstances surrounding each death and examine why these two mothers took the brave step of allowing the world to see their children in this heartbreaking way.

In memory of Abigail Craen

Medical student Abigail Craen, 20, was killed by a hit and run driver in October 2005. Abigail was thrown more than 30ft along the road when she was hit by a car as she used a pelican crossing in Edgbaston. The car, which went through a red light, sped off without stopping. [1]

Abigail’s mum, Susan, released a photograph of her daughter lying dead in hospital to encourage anyone with information to come forward and to raise awareness of the effects of road crashes.

She said: “I chose to release the photograph of Abigail lying dead in hospital because I thought it was important for people to see the effect of what can happen if you do not treat your vehicle with respect. When people are killed, a photo is often released of a happy smiling person and yet they are dead. I wanted to shock people into paying more attention behind a wheel.”

Daniel Conroy Curtin

Eight-year-old Daniel Conroy Curtin was hit by a speeding stolen car as he played with friends near his home in Middlesborough on May 16 2006. Daniel was left fighting for his life, and died in hospital days later due to the severity of his head injuries. [2]

Daniel’s mother, Clare Conroy, allowed him to be photographed as he lay in hospital breathing through a ventilator in intensive care, believing at the time that he would get better. She chose to release the photograph to highlight what can happen when a child is hit by a car.

Following Daniel’s death, his mother requested that the media no longer use the photograph taken of him in hospital, but instead use a photograph taken on his seventh birthday. Clare made the decision to donate Daniel’s heart, kidneys and liver to transplant surgeons, and said she hoped his death would be a warning to people everywhere of the dangers posed if youngsters are tempted to get behind the wheel of a car.

Clare said: “Cars are not some play thing. In the wrong hands they can and do kill and I would urge all parents to think long and hard on that. No one should have to go through what our family has endured for the past nine days. We have sat by his bed and watched Daniel’s fight for life. Daniel has died but I hope his spirit and memory will live on and that some good can come from the tragic consequences that have engulfed our family.”

A brave choice

Brake believes that parents who release such photos should be applauded for their bravery and given support, and that parents who chose not to release such photos should have their wishes respected.

Mary Williams OBE, Chief Executive of Brake said: “The heartrending photographs which Abigail’s mum and Daniel’s mum bravely issued to the national media should act as a wake up call to the Government and everyone who gets behind the wheel to stop, once and for all, deaths in such horrendous circumstances. Such photos may not have an impact on all drivers, but doubtless have an impact on some. Anything we can do to raise awareness of the appalling effects of road crashes, and their frequency, we should do. So often road crashes are treated as local news and don’t even feature in the national media, despite killing so many more people than more high profile disasters such as terrorism or aeroplane crashes.”

What should parents do who want to consider placing such photographs in the media?

While some parents would be horrified at the thought of the world seeing a photograph of their dead, or dying, child, others may get comfort from the fact that other people are sharing their grief and witnessing the tragedies that can occur on our roads. They may also take solace in the fact that some good may come from the death of their child - if the photograph saves the life of just one other child it has not been in vain.

If you are being helped by a specially-trained police officer called a Family Liaison Officer, they should be able to help you liaise with the media and release your photo for you.

Alternatively, you can talk to the Brake helpline for bereaved families on 0808 8000 401. We can advise on many aspects of talking to the media, including the help that police family liaison officers may be able to provide, or any other concerns you wish to discuss with us.

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[1] Hit-and-run Killer Did This to my Daughter, (Birmingham Mail, 3 November 2005)
[2] Joyrider Crash Boy’s Organs to be Donated, (Daily Mail. 26 May 2006)

Fundraising Ideas for Children

It’s great to get children involved in fundraising from a young age.Childrens fundraising 2

Fundraising is all about having fun, whilst at the same time helping others.   So why not donate some time during the school holidays towards helping your child fundraise for Brake.  

We’re not expecting the children to raise £100s. Absolutely every single £1 donated to Brake is important – and if you let us know how you’ve fundraised for us, we will happily send a personal thank you and certificate to your child to acknowledge their hard work fundraising for us.

How to start?

Well first of all, let’s start with the basics - it’s important that a child’s fundraiser should be:

- Safe
- Not too long, or they’ll get bored
- Easy to understand and accomplish
- FUN!

Brake can provide your child with:

- A fundraising pack (including a sponsorship form, if required)
- A sheet of stickers for them to give out to their friends
- Some road safety fact sheets for the children to take into school

Here are a few fundraising ideas to get you thinking:

Bake Sale

All children love baking, either independently or with a grown-up. Why not set aside a couple of hours and bake some delicious buns and biscuits; have fun decorating them (how about traffic light colours?) and then sell them to friends, family and neighbours.

Sponsored Silence

Are the holidays feeling a bit loud? How about this brilliant, peaceful fundraiser to test your child’s commitment to their fundraising.   You choose a length of time that you think your child could achieve and ask friends and family to sponsor them.  Then prepare lots of silent activities to pass the time (books, colouring etc) and off you go.

Guess the number of sweeties in a jar

Take your child to the local shop to buy sweeties of their choice; find an appropriate sized jar and then fill it with the sweets. Remember to carefully count them all as you put them in, and seal the answer in an envelope.  Work with your child to design an answer sheet full of boxes that people can write their guesses in.  Visit friends, family and neighbours and charge £2 per guess. When the sheet is complete, announce the winner, and your child can present them with the sweets!.

Name the Teddy

Buy a Teddy Bear! Download our Name-the-bear Sheet ask your child to choose a name for the bear and seal it in an envelope. Then visit friends, family and neighbours charging £2 per guess. When the sheet is complete, announce the winner, and your child can present them with their prize – the teddy!

Wet Sponge Fun

Arrange a day when family and friends can all throw wet sponges at a chosen target (grandma? daddy? etc).   Perhaps charge 50p a throw?

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Organise a fun picnic at the park with friends and their teddy bears. You could charge £1 per bear invited and possibly include other silly fundraisers during the picnic.

Toddler Triathlon

Arrange for parents and toddlers to meet at the local park and for a minimal entry fee, arrange (1) to walk/run a certain distance, (2) to cycle/trike/scooter a certain distance, (3) a hunt for treasure in the park (coins, sealed sweets etc)

Car Wash

Why not ask friends, family and relatives if you can wash their car for them during the holidays, for a small donation? (Remind them that it’s not about the getting the car completely clean, it’s more about the fundraising your child is doing!)

The important thing to remember is that fundraising is fun!

Email fundraise@brake.org.uk if you would like to join in.  If you have your own fabulous fundraising ideas, let us know.

Information and advice for bereaved families and friends following a death on the road in Northern Ireland

This page contains links to web pages of information and advice on practical matters and procedures that follow a death on the road in Northern Ireland. You can also download the complete guide as a pdf.

This information aims to help you if someone close has been killed in a road crash, or if you are caring for someone bereaved in this way.

It has been produced by the charity Brake, with funding from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

What to read now

If you have been bereaved in the past few hours or days, go to the page 'What happens now?' (If you don't feel able to read on right away, ask someone else to read these pages for you.)

The rest of this guide provides information and advice on many other issues you may face at different times.

For emotional support, information and practical help from Brake and other agencies now or later, contact the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401 or helpline@brake.org.uk or go to the to the section labelled ‘Useful organisations’.

What happens now?

Information and advice on organ donation; seeing, touching and identifying a loved one's body; post-mortem examination issues; return of belongings; visiting the crash site; what happened in the crash; and what happens to vehicles.

Practical issues

Information and advice on informing people; burials or cremations; legal issues; personal finance; the media; memorials; crashes abroad.

Criminal investigation and charges

Information and advice on the police investigation; the Public Prosecution Service and your right to be heard; criminal charges.

Court cases

Information and advice on attending court; being a witness in court; court procedures; appeals; prisoner release; inquests; the Criminal Justice System.

Can I claim compensation?

Information and advice on claiming compensation; hiring a solicitor to pursue compensation; rogue offers of help; paying your solicitor; types of compensation; fatal motor claim procedures.

Useful organisations

Information about organisations you can contact concerning all of the above.

Coping with grief

Advice for people bereaved in a road crash on coping with emotions, shock and trauma, and getting help.

Provide feedback on this guide

Brake hopes this guide has been helpful to you. If you would like to provide feedback, please fill in our simple online feedback form.

Information for families wishing to erect roadside memorials

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Brake believes that all families should be able to, if they wish to, place flowers and other memorials at the place where their loved ones died. We know that these memorials are of comfort to many families, and that they provide a stark reminder to other drivers of the consequences of bad driving.

Many local authorities are happy for small memorials to be placed at the roadside, such as small plaques, wooden crosses and flowers. However, sadly, some local authorities object to permanent memorials, even small ones, and even go as far as restricting the length of time that flowers can be placed at the scene of a crash. If you have been bereaved in a road crash and would like us to liaise with your local authority to find out what is possible in your area, please call our helpline on 0808 8000 401.

Brake has helped some families, who wish to have a roadside memorial, by producing the roadside memorial for them. For this service, we only charge the cost of production of the memorial. For example, we have produced 20cm tall wooden crosses that are suitable for attaching to lamp-posts. If you want Brake to help you in this way, call our helpline on 0808 8000 401.

For more information about Brake’s policy on roadside memorials, please read on:

Background

Families bereaved in road crashes have frequently wished to place flowers, and subsequently sometimes more permanent memorials, at the place where their loved one or loved ones died. This is very normal behaviour for families who have been violently and suddenly bereaved by a horrific event. However, in recent years, some local authorities have developed policies that aim to restrict this practice, for a variety of stated reasons. Further, people who live in communities where memorials are placed sometimes complain about those memorials, for different stated reasons, sometimes comparatively trivial. These policies and complaints have caused predictable upset to families bereaved by road death.

This policy aims to explain Brake’s perspective on roadside memorials, as advocates for families so traumatically bereaved, to help inform local authorities’ decisions and the decisions of bereaved families.

An insight into a death on the road and why memorials bring comfort

Roadside memorials, either temporary or permanent, may bring comfort, and therefore aid recovery, for many bereaved families.

Death on the road is devastating and literally rip families apart. People who die on roads are frequently young adults, in the prime of their lives with loving, close families, or children, who leave behind devastated parents and siblings. Their deaths are violent and horrendous, often caused by massive internal organ injury, bleeding, crushing, decapitation or limb loss, or burning. A loved one may be unrecognisable after death, and the family therefore has no chance to say goodbye to the person as they knew them. Sometimes, people who are killed in road crashes die slowly, after a time in an intensive care unit. This in itself is extremely distressing for the family, who may have to face their loved one going through multiple operations or being pronounced brain stem dead, and ultimately dying after a terrible battle for life. None of these deaths is expected. All are shocking and result in traumatic grief for the family and close friends left behind.

Frequently, people who die on roads do so through no fault of their own, the victims of speeding, drunk, drugged, illegal or otherwise dangerous drivers. Frequently, the criminals who caused their death are let off with minor punishments, causing additional distress to bereaved families.

Why are roadside memorials, temporary or permanent, important to many bereaved families?

  • Across the world, bereaved people find that gestures and ceremonies that enable them to honour a person who has died are very significant in the grieving process, particularly if the death was traumatic, violent and unexpected.
  • Visiting the scene of a crash, and laying flowers there for example, is therefore a very normal and comforting thing for families bereaved by that crash to do. Sometimes families are able to do this within hours of receiving the terrible news. For others, who live further away, it may require a long journey. Equally understandable, some families may find that, due to the traumatic nature of their grief, that they find it difficult, or even impossible, to visit the scene of death.
  • Having a temporary or permanent memorial at the site of the crash helps many families to connect to the event that caused their loved one(s) death(s). Often, the bereaved family were not involved in the crash, and heard about it when a police officer knocked on their door, miles away and hours after the event. Many families subsequently have an urgent need to know, and remember, the details of the crash that killed their loved one(s). Visiting and respecting the scene of their death or fatal injuries is critical to this. This is similar to the needs of families bereaved by the two great wars who have visited over the years the sites in France and elsewhere of their loved ones’ deaths, which are often marked with significant memorials.
  • Re-laying fresh flowers, weekly or on anniversaries, is a way families can express that they have not forgotten, and are continuing to honour the way their loved one or loved ones died, and are keeping their memory alive.
  • Arranging for a permanent memorial, such as a small wooden cross, to be placed at the scene of death, is also normal. Fatal train disasters are another type of transport disaster that is frequently commemorated in this way. There is a permanent plaque at King’s Cross to commemorate the people who died there in the Underground Fire. Equally important, a memorial garden has been built next to the railway line on which 10 men died in the Selby Rail Disaster.
  • These memorials, either temporary or permanent, carry enormous significance to many bereaved families, in addition to graves or places where ashes have been scattered or kept, particularly, perhaps, if there had been little of the body left to bury or cremate, following the violence of a crash.
  • Many families bereaved by road death perceive roadside memorials as a vital reminder for other drivers and for communities in which there have been deaths on the road. Again, this is similar to the ‘Lest we Forget’ message on many war memorials. Many families bereaved by road death do not want their loved ones to be forgotten by drivers who use the roads, and have the view that out of respect for those who have died, and to prevent further tragedies, their deaths should be constantly remembered by passing motorists.

Advice to Local Authorities and Police when formulating policies on roadside memorials

It should firstly be remembered that bereaved families will be highly grief struck, but also are, in the vast majority, reasonable human beings who do not wish to contribute to further road crashes or environmental problems. However, discussions with bereaved families should be handled with extreme sensitivity, by bereavement experts, in recognition of the deaths they have suffered and their needs.

Brake takes the following position on policy decisions relating to roadside memorials.

1. FLOWERS AND OTHER MOVEABLE ITEMS

  • Bereaved families should have the default right to lay flowers or other small items at any time at the site of their loved one’s crash, such as on verges and tied to lamp-posts. To prevent unnecessary environmental pollution, families are advised to remove any unnecessary packaging, particularly plastic packaging around flowers. However, if packaged flowers are placed, or any other semi-permanent items such as cards or teddy bears, bereaved families should not be penalised in any way by the authority. If items such as teddy bears are thought to be causing an obstruction or to have entirely decayed, the authority should follow a process of mediation led by a bereavement officer, as outlined further below, before deciding on appropriate action.
  • There should be no restrictions on the length of time that flowers or other small items can be laid or re-laid. Traumatic grief can take years to recover from, and bereaved families never forget. Placing a time limit on flowers is placing a time limit on grieving, which is inhumane, impossible to communicate without appearing cruel and unreasonable, and also complex for an authority to enforce.
  • If flowers or other items are placed on grass that is cut by the local authority, grass cutting staff should be advised to lift the items with care and then replace them once the grass underneath has been cut.
  • If flowers or other items have completely decayed (to the extent they have turned black/mouldy/are falling to pieces), then the council has a reasonable right to remove them. Before removal, however, the authority should, through the police family liaison officer, inform the family of its decision, and allow a period of time in which the family can visit the scene and see for themselves that the items have decayed. In many cases, if a family performs this visit, they may decide to remove the items themselves and possibly replace with fresh items.
  • If a complaint is made by a member of the public about the placing of flowers or other items, that complaint should only be given consideration if the items are immediately outside that person’s house, for example on a lamp-post directly next to their front gate, or a verge directly next to their drive. The complaint should also only be given consideration if more than 6 months has passed since the time of the crash. It should never be considered on or around an anniversary of the death.
  • Genuine complaints that meet the above two criteria should result in a period of mediation between the member of the public and the bereaved family, with a mutually-satisfactory resolution reached. An example of satisfactory resolution could be, for example, a smaller flower arrangement, or flowers only placed at certain times, such as birthdays and anniversaries of the death or deaths. This mediation should take the form of phone calls or meetings, not impersonal letters, which should always be undertaken by a trained bereavement officer, and not by staff who are inexperienced in working with bereaved people, such as a highways officer. A bereaved family should never be forced to meet a complainant face to face, but if they wish to do so, to state their case, then the complainant should be given that opportunity. If a face to face meeting is arranged, it should always take place in a confidential environment and in the presence of the mediator. Bereaved families should be able to bring along a relevant advocate, such as a police family liaison officer. If a resolution cannot be reached, external organisations such as Brake should be consulted and involved, although this is unlikely to be necessary in most cases.
  • Flowers or other objects should not be removed on the basis that they are posing a distraction to other motorists. The argument that temporary or permanent road death memorials are a distraction is entirely moot when considered against the many other distractions on the edge of our roads, some of them floral (for example, colourful flower beds planted on verges and on roundabouts by local authorities, sometimes spelling out the name of a town or a message). Other distractions obviously include signposts to tourist destinations, shop fronts, bill boards, and many other items, including people on pavements and other road users. If a driver notices bunches of flowers placed in memory of someone who has died, then it is highly likely that they will also recognise these flowers as an important reminder that someone has died on this road and it is important to drive carefully. In that sense, flowers are a less invasive or hazardous road safety message to drivers than road signs saying ‘X people killed on this road in X years’ which are commonly placed by authorities themselves. Flowers are biodegradable, and unlike road signs (which are made of metal), pose no danger to vehicle occupants in a road crash.

2. ERECTING OF PERMAMENT MEMORIALS

  • Families bereaved by road crashes should be able to follow a simple application process if they wish to place a permanent memorial at, or near, the site of their loved one’s death. This application should require just a simple letter or phone call outlining what the family wish to erect (including height and size) and exactly where. This application should be handled by the authority by a skilled bereavement officer, who can act as an intermediary between the family and the relevant highway authority representative. The application can be submitted by either the family, or an advocate acting on their behalf, such as Brake, or a police family liaison officer, or a solicitor.
  • When considering applications, the authority should be reasonable and aim to achieve compromise where possible if an application is unlikely to be granted. Many families are satisfied with a permanent memorial that is modest in size and environmental impact and therefore reasonable for a local authority to allow. For example, a small cross (or other religious sign) or plaque on a small stone, or a plaque or religious sign attached to a post that is already there. However, if a family wished to erect something that an authority objected to, then a process of discussion should follow, aiming for compromise. For example, if a family wished to have a one metre high memorial stone in the middle of a grass verge on a bend in a road, the authority may argue that the stone poses a hazard to other motorists, should they veer off the road at that point. However, a compromise could, for example, include incorporating the memorial stone into part of an existing dry stone wall at that point on the road.
  • The location of a permanent memorial should also consider whether traffic would pose a risk to people wishing to visit that memorial. It is reasonable for consideration to be given to whether it is possible for people to reach a memorial in safety, either by foot, bicycle or vehicle. In some instances, a family may wish to place a memorial at the site of the crash despite its danger to visitors, and commit to not visiting it without police help. However, the safety of the general public should also be considered. Where there is very significant risk to people visiting the memorial, a family may wish to place a memorial elsewhere in order to eliminate the risk of members of the public being tempted through curiosity to visit a memorial in a dangerous place, posing risk to their own lives.
  • Authorities should also consider having a permanent memorial to road death victims in a local park, onto which names can be carved as deaths occur. However, such memorials should not be used as a way of then arguing against allowing families to discuss with local authorities memorial possibilities at the sites of the deaths of their loved ones.

3. COMMUNICATING A COUNCIL OR POLICE POLICY ON ROADSIDE MEMORIALS

In the past, there has been some extremely insensitive literature on roadside memorial policy produced by councils which has proved highly offensive to families so violently and tragically bereaved.

Any local authority or police authority considering writing a policy on roadside memorials, and writing publicity materials that communicate that policy to bereaved families, should consult Brake and any other local agencies that support road crash victims prior to publication.

For a small fee, Brake can give advice on draft documents, including providing advice on appropriate language to use when communicating with people recently bereaved by road death (Brake is the national police provider of road death support literature).

The production of local policies should always be led by a council or police bereavement officer, in consultation with relevant highways authority personnel and support agencies, and aim to follow the advice in this Brake policy document.

The most effective way that local government and enforcement agencies can reduce road death memorials is by reducing road deaths through implementation of measures such as lower speed limits and enforcement.

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Organising practical roadside road safety training for pupils with SEN

Effective, safely-delivered roadside training can be very labour intensive and take many hours, particularly if catering to the varying needs of different pupils. However, it is also extremely worthwhile, and the most effective method for teaching safe walking and cycling skills to children.Practical training has been shown to be particularly effective for children with learning difficulties and disabilities, helping them to relate road safety rules and skills to a real-life context, and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own safety.[1]

For pupils with average learning development, roadside pedestrian training should be provided to pupils age 5-11, while pupils age 10 and over can be offered practical cycle training. However, if you teach pupils age 11-18 with SEN, you should also consider whether these pupils could benefit from pedestrian training to help them grasp and practise the skills involved in staying safe on foot.

PEDESTRIAN TRAINING

Contact your local road safety officer
Before organising roadside training, it is essential to contact your local road safety officer for advice and assistance to ensure training is carried out safely.

Carefully plan safe trainingYou will need to talk through the needs of your pupils with your road safety officer, and work with them to carefully plan training so it is delivered in a way that is inclusive, relevant for all pupils, and safe for all pupils to attend. You should also consult with parents and carers (as below) and your local authority's SEN specialist.

It is imperative to ensure that no pupils are put at risk through training, so discuss with the road safety officer how many trained adult supervisors will be needed. You should particularly take into account pupils who may be harder to control and supervise on and near roads (see page on risks faced by pupils with SEN).

For children of average learning development age 5-7 you need at least one supervisor for every two children (so every child has an adult's hand to hold). For children of average learning development age 7-11 you need at least one supervisor for every six children. However, you may decide that to take some children with SEN out, it is safest (and most effective) to work with very small groups, with one adult supervisor per child.

Be aware that, for some pupils with SEN, intensive training over a long period of time may be required to bring them to a standard where they consistently apply safety rules.[2]

It is also important to ensure that a safe road environment is used for the training, such as a very quiet road, with pavements and crossings. You road safety officer will be able to offer advice on where training should be held, and carry out a safety audit. You can also download a safety audit designed to help schools decide whether roads are safe enough to take children on supervised walks.

Training content

For guidance on the key skills that effective training should cover for different age pupils of normal learning development, click here. Depending on the needs and abilities of pupils, you may decide with your road safety officer that training for a lower age group is most appropriate (or a better place to start) than training that would typically be provided to pupils of that age.

It can be useful to practise basic safety skills in the playground first, particularly if pupils have limited experience of using roads. For example, you can teach children to respond to important words like 'stop' and practise the Green Cross Code by standing on lines in the playground or by marking out a road with chalk. Get children to use 'self-instruction' both in this environment and at the roadside, where they recite safe actions before carrying them out, e.g. 'stop near the edge of the kerb, look left then right.' This has been shown by research to be effective with children with SEN.[3]

Involve parents and carers
Training should aim to build on children's existing knowledge and should aim to develop skills through discussion and practice.[4] Ideally, training should be reinforced by parents and carers who supervise children outside of school time, so it's important to communicate the key messages of training to parents and carers. This is particularly important for pupils who still need adult supervision when using roads.

Many pupils will start to walk and cycle independently aged 8-11, but pupils with SEN may still require adult supervision during and beyond this age range. Consult with parents to find out whether pupils with SEN are starting to use roads independently and, if so, what they perceive the main risks to be. Once training has taken place, encourage parents and carers to provide opportunities for pupils to put their skills into practice, such as by regularly taking pupils on short, supervised walks and talking through key safety rules as they do so.

You may also be able to involve parents and carers in the training as supervisors, as long as they receive appropriate training and guidance, which you can discuss with your road safety officer. Research suggests that training for children with learning difficulties that involves parents and carers can be more effective.[5]

Back up training with classroom learning. It's also important to back up practical training with classroom learning, using discussion, diagrams and models. Use our lesson ideas for 5-11 year-olds for inspiration and go back to the page on teaching road safety to children with SEN for guidance.

Follow-up after training It's important to bear in mind, and communicate to parents and carers, the limitations of training and any ongoing problems individual pupils experienced during training. For example, some pupils may master the Green Cross Code in some situations, but have problems transferring the skill to different road environments. Other pupils might have had ongoing problems staying focused on what is being taught.

It is also impossible for courses to cover all eventualities and dangers on the roads, however detailed the course. Children, parents and carers should not be lulled into a false sense of security that they have been taught the rules and will therefore be able to always look after themselves. Some children may need ongoing adult supervision when using roads, even if they have received training. You should ensure that pupils? performance in training is fed back to parents and carers so they can make informed decisions about whether a child is ready to start using roads independently.

Some children may continue to be at extra risk due to their learning disability, or due to a tendency to be influenced by pressures to act dangerously. Ideally, you should continue to develop pupils' understanding of risks on the road and how to keep themselves safe by regular lessons, which can refer back to the practical training.

Work towards safer routes to school As well as providing practical training and classroom-based learning to help pupils walk and cycle safely, you should also work towards achieving a safer road environment for pupils in your community, particularly on routes between your school and pupils? homes. You can find advice on doing this here.

CYCLE TRAINING

In 2007, the Government launched Bikeability, a new training programme being rolled out across England which replaces the old ‘cycling proficiency’, and which can be taken by both children and adults. To get their Bikeability award, pupils are instructed on how to ride their bikes to the Government-approved 'National Standard for Cycle Training'. Bikeability is delivered by accredited instructors, usually employed by local authorities.

According to Cycling England, which administers the scheme, most children with SEN will be able to make use of the training, although you should consult with both your local authority road safety officer and pupils' parents and carers to assess the risks and ensure training can be undertaken safely. Level 1 of Bikeability is taken off-road, so can be a great introduction to basic cycling skills as there is no risk from traffic. It is also important to ensure that pupils and parents do not regard the training as a guarantee that children will be competent enough to cycle unaccompanied, when they may not have the skills, abilities or experience to allow them to do so safely.

Bikeability involves three levels of training and assessment:

  • Level 1 takes place off-road (e.g. on a playground) and involves a 1-2 hour session with no more than 15 pupils per instructor. It is suitable for pupils of normal learning development aged 8 and upwards. Level 2 takes place on quiet roads and aims to enable pupils to cycle safely to school or local amenities using quiet local roads. It consists of five sessions, with at least two instructors for a group of no more than 12 pupils. The first session should last two hours and include a cycle check and assessment of Level 1 skills in the playground. The next four one-hour sessions take place at local road junctions. Level two can only be undertaken by pupils who have completed level one and is not recommended for pupils of normal learning development under the age of 10. Level 3 takes places on busier roads and aims to equip pupils with the skills to be able to cycle on busy roads using complex junctions. It can only be undertaken by pupils who have completed level 2 and is not recommended for children of normal learning development under the age of 14.

Bikeability modules are currently being developed that are specifically aimed at children with SEN who need additional, tailored training. These are expected to be ready by late 2007 ' check www.bikeability.org.uk or ask your local authority to let you know when these are available.

For more information go to www.bikeability.org.uk. To find out if Bikeability is offered in your area, contact your local road safety officer.

Bikeability is an England-wide scheme, but schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can contact their local road safety officer to find out if similar 'National Standard' cycle training is offered locally, or click through here to online information on cycle training in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

For advice on promoting cycling to pupils, go to our web page on School Travel Plans.

Back to menu - Teaching road safety to children with SEN


[1] The Road Safety of Children and Adults with Disabilities (Transport Research Laboratory, 2002)

[2] The Road Safety of Children and Adults with Disabilities (Transport Research Laboratory, 2002)

[3] The Road Safety of Children and Adults with Disabilities (Transport Research Laboratory, 2002)

[4] Step Forward guidelines, www.dft.gov.uk (Department for Transport)

[5] *Phillips, S and J Todman. *Pedestrian skills training for children with learning difficulties.

International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 1999, 22, 237-238.

Disclaimer: Brake is not responsible for the content of external websites

Practical Issues

Information and advice on informing people; burials or cremations; legal issues; personal finance; the media; memorials; crashes abroad.

Registering a death

If you are the next of kin of the person who died then you will need to register the death. Once the coroner’s investigations are complete, you will be contacted by the district registrar, who will tell you to go to the registrar’s office to register the death.

After the death has been registered, you can obtain a death certificate from the General Register Office in Belfast. You can do this either online, by phone, by post or in person. For more details go to www.nidirect.gov.uk.

You may need proof of the death sooner than this, for example to enable you to move money between bank accounts or claim benefits (see below). In this case, you can ask the coroner to give you a ‘certificate of evidence of death’. This is free. Information on how to contact the coroner is available on the ‘court cases’ page.

For more information on registering a death, contact your district registrar or call the General Register Office for Northern Ireland on 0300 200 7890 or go to www.nidirect.gov.uk.

Talking to motor insurers

If a person who died was driving a vehicle then you, or someone on your behalf, needs to tell their motor insurer that they have died. The police can give you basic details that the motor insurer needs, such as the details of another driver. You do not have to tell the motor insurer what happened in the crash. You only need to say that the crash is being investigated by the police.

The motor insurer may offer you a solicitor to help you find out if you have a compensation claim. It is up to you whether you choose this solicitor or a different solicitor (see below).

Whether or not a person who died was driving a vehicle, you are advised to consult a solicitor of your choice as soon as possible. It may be possible, at no cost to you, to make a significant claim for compensation from the motor insurer of a vehicle that contributed to the crash.

At any stage you may be contacted by the other side’s motor insurer, offering you money in settlement for any compensation claim you may have. If this happens, you are strongly advised not to accept this money. Do not sign any forms they send you. A settlement they offer may be lower than the amount that a solicitor could obtain for you.

Telling others

There may be people other than relatives and friends who may need to be told about a death quite soon. You can choose to tell these people yourself or ask someone to do it for you. These people may include:

  • employers (if you are employed you may be entitled to immediate bereavement leave or be given permission to take your holiday entitlement now; some employers and trade unions also have benevolent funds that provide support to families of employees who have died);
  • school, college or nursery (teachers can provide valuable support);
  • life insurance and pension companies (the sooner you inform these companies, the sooner you can go ahead with any possible claims from these plans);
  • bank or building society;
  • mortgage or loan provider;
  • landlord;
  • housing department or housing association (if a person who died was living in social housing);
  • utility providers (for example, gas, electricity and phone), particularly if a person who died lived alone;
  • benefit providers (see below);
  • HM Revenue and Customs (if a person who died paid tax);
  • Passport Office (if a person who died had a passport);
  • DVLA (if a person who died had a driving licence);
  • social clubs that a person who died attended.

Arranging a burial or cremation

A body’s burial or cremation can take place once a coroner has given permission.

Arrangements for a body to be buried or cremated, and arrangements for any funeral service or gathering in their memory, are usually overseen by a close relative. If you are the person making arrangements, consider any instructions that the person who died left in a will or elsewhere, or told anyone (see below). You may also want to consult other people who were close to the person who died. A cremation can only go ahead if close relatives do not object. If the person who died followed a religion, there may be religious practices to follow.

Making decisions at this time can be hard. You may find it easier to make decisions and share tasks with other close family or friends. People in the same family sometimes have different or strong views on what should be done. Discussing options and making decisions together can help. Alternatively, you may choose to let someone else make decisions.

Some people hold more than one memorial event, so everyone gets an opportunity to say goodbye in a way that has meaning to them.

You, or someone else responsible for the dead person’s estate, is responsible for ensuring the cremation or burial happens, and deciding how. This means that, as long as you choose a legal method, no-one (for example a funeral director) can compel you to do it in a particular way.

Using a funeral director

Many people arrange a burial or a cremation with the help of a funeral director. A funeral director’s services usually include, among other things, looking after the body prior to burial or cremation, providing you with a choice of coffins, shrouds or urns to buy, liaising with the burial ground or crematorium on your behalf if necessary and transporting the body.

If you decide to use a funeral director, and are considering which one to use, you may want to choose one who is a member of an association and follows a code of practice.

The following associations provide lists of members:

Some people choose not to use a funeral director because they want to manage arrangements themselves. Some people choose to use a funeral director only for certain things, such as looking after the body. You can get advice on managing arrangements yourself from the charity the Natural Death Centre. Go to www.naturaldeath.org.uk or call 01962 712690.

Some people choose not to use a funeral director because arrangements are being managed by a faith leader.

Burial grounds

Your local authority or funeral director can provide you with lists of local cemeteries and church graveyards. Some burial grounds may already be full. The person in charge of a burial ground can tell you.

There is also the option of burial in a woodland. This provides a natural setting for burial, while also using the land to grow plants and encourage wildlife.

Ashes

If your loved one’s body is being cremated, then their ashes can be scattered in a place of your choice or garden of remembrance, buried in a cemetery or graveyard, or kept by you. You need to get permission from any landowner before making arrangements to scatter or bury ashes.

Coffins and shrouds

Bodies can be placed in coffins made from a range of materials, including cardboard. The body can alternatively be wrapped in a shroud before being buried or cremated. You can buy coffins and shrouds from a funeral director, over the internet or make your own. There are rules governing the wrapping of bodies. If you are not using a funeral director, you can get advice from the Natural Death Centre (see above).

Paying for a burial or cremation

You may be able to get help paying for all or some of the costs of a burial or cremation if:

  • you are on a low income and receive certain benefits, and you are responsible for paying for the funeral of a close relative or friend. You may be eligible for a ‘funeral payment’ to help with the essential costs of a funeral. (To find out more, go to www.nidirect.gov.uk and search ‘funeral payment’.);
  • the person who died was signed up to a scheme providing payment for such costs. This scheme could be part of an employment package, a personal pension plan, or an insurance plan;
  • the person who died had paid in advance for their own burial or cremation through a payment plan. Some credit union accounts also make a payment towards funeral costs when the account holder dies. (Some payment plans may only pay for the use of a particular funeral director.)

If you aren’t eligible for this help, you should still keep receipts of costs in case you can claim them back later. You may be able to do this if someone is found to have been responsible for a death as part of a claim by you for compensation.

The websites www.yourfuneralchoice.com and beyond.life compare prices and services of funeral directors.

Direct funerals

One option for reducing the cost of a funeral is a burial or cremation without any mourners present. This is sometimes called a ‘direct’ funeral. The funeral director makes arrangements with the crematorium or burial site, collects the body, and returns ashes from the crematorium in an urn. Many people who choose this option still have a memorial ceremony, but hold it on a different day, later on.

The Natural Death Centre can advise you on ways to lower the cost of a burial or cremation and lists funeral directors specialising in direct funerals. Call 01962 712 690 or go to www.naturaldeath.org.uk.

Hiring a solicitor

Many people bereaved by a road crash benefit from hiring one or more solicitors as soon as possible. The earlier you consult a solicitor, the sooner they can consider your case and the greater the chance they will be able to help you. An initial consultation with a solicitor should be free.

Different solicitors specialise in different areas of law. A personal injury solicitor is the best person to advise you on whether you can claim compensation and pursue any claim for you. Sometimes a lot of money can be claimed, so it is important to find out. You may also need advice from a solicitor specialising in wills. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need specialist advice regarding issues around an inquest, a post-mortem examination, a criminal case, or a death that happened abroad.

Wills

If you are the next of kin of an adult who has died, or you have been appointed as their representative, you need to find out if they made a will. Copies of wills may be held by a bank, solicitor or accountant, or at the home of the person who has died, or they may have been deposited with the Probate Office in Belfast or the District Probate Office in Londonderry. For more information go to www.nidirect.gov.uk and search for ‘wills’.

A will appoints a person or people (known as an executor) to administer the estate of a person who has died (everything they owned). It also gives instructions on how possessions and money should be distributed and may also include instructions about their burial or cremation and any funeral.

Wills can be complicated. Sometimes there is no will. Whether or not there is a will, a specialist solicitor can give you advice on what you need to do. The Law Society of Northern Ireland provides details of solicitors who specialise in wills. Go to www.lawsoc-ni.org/solicitors or call 028 9023 1614.

You can usually meet with a solicitor for free to decide if you want to use them or not. If you hire them, their legal costs are usually paid from the estate of the person who died. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice office or law centre for free advice. To find details of the law centre nearest to you, go to www.adviceni.net or call 028 9064 5919.

Benefits

Some people qualify for benefits after being bereaved. You may be able to claim benefits for all sorts of reasons, for example if a partner has died, or you are bringing up children on a low income.

If a person who has died was claiming benefits or a state retirement pension, or if you were receiving benefits for them, you need to let their benefits office know about the death.

To find out if you can claim any benefits, contact your local benefits office as soon as possible. You can also call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 220 674, or visit www.nidirect.gov.uk. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Office for free advice.

Financial issues

Many people find their bereavement causes financial issues; for example, if a person who died was working and provided income. Some bereaved people struggle to pay bills at this time.

Some bereaved people also find they are managing finances for the first time, because this was a task undertaken by a person who died. Understanding finances that someone else previously managed can be challenging, particularly at such a difficult time.

The following organisations can give advice:

Charities offering advice:

Government-established advice service:

If you are pursuing a claim for compensation, it is sometimes possible to obtain an early partial payment, to help with immediate financial needs. Your solicitor can advise you.

Stopping unwanted mail

You may find it upsetting to receive junk mail, email or sales calls for someone who has died. One way to reduce the chance of this is to register, for free, with The Bereavement Register. Call 0800 082 1230 or go to www.thebereavementregister.org.uk.

You can also stop unwanted sales calls, mail and faxes by registering with:

You may have to re-register with these services every few years.

The above services may not stop all unwanted correspondence, but will reduce the chance of it happening.

Social media

Communicating with friends, family or colleagues through social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) is an important part of many people's lives. You may find comfort and support through your use of social media at this time.

It is important not to make comments publicly on websites that could create problems for a police investigation, a criminal trial or a compensation claim. If you wish to discuss such things with people who are close to you, it is safest to do so only through private messaging or email.

There are many websites that encourage people to state their views on public forums (for example, on news websites). These forums often contain a variety of views, some of which may not be sensitively worded nor fair comment. They may contain incorrect information. A driver who has caused a crash may also post things on their own social media accounts that you may find upsetting.

For your well-being, you may choose to avoid sites which could contain insensitive posts or incorrect information, and only visit places on the internet where you feel safe, supported and can trust what you are reading.

If you feel you are suffering online harassment, for example threats to harm you physically, talk to the police.

Your case in the media

Journalists from newspapers, or radio or TV programmes, often want to cover crashes and court cases. You cannot stop the media from reporting on your case or publishing your name and where you are from. Journalists may publish or broadcast stories about your case without talking to you, or they may phone you, knock on your door, or approach you at a court hearing for a comment. They may ask you for a photograph or home video of someone who has died. They may ask to interview you or photograph you.

Different people feel differently about the media. You may feel grateful for media coverage, or dislike it, or feel disappointed that there isn't more media coverage. It is up to you whether you talk to journalists or not. You may decide to talk to journalists to help raise awareness of road safety, or to help find witnesses to the crash. You may find that you prefer to talk to some journalists but not to others. You may decide not to talk to journalists for personal reasons.

If you aren't contacted by journalists but want media coverage, you can contact them. You can ring up, email or write to journalists. Alternatively, your solicitor (see above) or the police (see below) may be able to help you liaise with journalists.

Ask your police contact or your solicitor (see above) if there is anything you shouldn’t talk about to journalists. If someone is accused of causing a death, it is important not to make comments that could create problems for a police investigation, a criminal trial or a compensation claim.

Police help with the media

The police can often help you to manage your relationship with the media, particularly in the first few days after the crash or around any court case. A police manual called Family Liaison Officer Guidance says police should work with you to develop a ‘media strategy’ that takes into account your views on media coverage. You can download this manual at from the Brake website.

The police often release their own media statements about crashes and resulting court cases to the media, and will be able to give these to you. Your police contact should be able to pass on to the media any written statement you want to make, any photograph you want to see published or home video you want broadcast. In some cases the police also organise press conferences for bereaved families. This might happen at the end of a court case, or to appeal for witnesses.

Choosing a photo or home video

When choosing a photo or home video of someone who has died to pass on to the media, you may wish to consider how they would have wanted to be remembered. Your police contact can arrange for a photo to be altered if necessary – for example, taking a loved one’s image from a group photo.

A few families have given the media a photo of a loved one’s dead body, or of them critically ill in hospital before they died. They have done this as part of an appeal for witnesses or to explain to the public the horror of road crashes. You can ask the media to use a photo for a specific purpose and on just one occasion, accompanied by specific words from you, and then ask for the photo not to be used again. If you would like a photo to be used on just one occasion, you should agree this with the journalist who contacts you, before the photo is used. It is advisable to have a record of this agreement, for example by asking the journalist to email you, or asking the journalist if you can record their verbal agreement on your mobile phone.

You can release a photo to just one journalist or lots of journalists. Your police contact may be able to help.

You are advised not to give original photos or home videos to the media in case they lose them. Newsrooms can be hectic, messy places. The police should be able to make copies for you.

Being interviewed by a journalist

Being interviewed by a journalist can be hard, particularly if they are a stranger and they want you to talk about how you feel. It can be particularly hard to do interviews that are being broadcast on radio or TV. If you decide to talk to a journalist, it can help to ask in advance what questions they want to ask, and to think what you might want to say. If you are doing an interview at a radio or TV station, you might want to take a friend for support, or if you would prefer, ask for the interview to be done at your home.

Making a comment or complaint about the media

If you are unhappy with a journalist's conduct or think that a journalist has published or broadcast something that is incorrect or unfair, you can make a complaint to the relevant publication or TV or radio station.

If you are complaining about a publication, address your complaint to the editor and publisher. If you are complaining about a TV or radio station, address your complaint to the director. Sometimes the media offers to print or broadcast an apology. A newspaper or magazine may offer to print a letter from you.

Journalists are governed by national codes of practice that require them to respect the privacy and feelings of bereaved people.

  • The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regulates the Editors’ Code of Practice, a set of rules that newspapers or magazines who are members of IPSO must follow. To read this code and find advice about dealing with media attention, or complain if you think a journalist has broken this code, go to www.ipso.co.uk. IPSO can help with unwanted press attention or harassment concerns and has a 24-hour helpline 07799 903 929.
  • The Ofcom Broadcasting Code governs TV and radio journalists. To read this code and make a complaint if you think a journalist has broken this code, go to www.ofcom.org.uk or call 0300 123 3333.

Some people bereaved by a road crash wish to campaign for road safety, the ‘Useful Organisations’ page gives details of organisations that can help you do this.

Roadside memorials

Some people bereaved in road crashes wish to place flowers and other things at the place where a loved one has died, in their memory. Some people see this as an important expression of their grief. You may or may not want to do this.

Many local authorities allow small temporary memorials such as flowers and cards. Some local authorities grant permission for small permanent memorials, such as a plaque on a grass verge, or depending on the location, larger memorials such as a bench. However, some local authorities may not allow permanent or large memorials, and some may even restrict the length of time that flowers can be placed at the site of a crash.

If you want to seek permission for a permanent or large roadside memorial, you need to talk to the relevant local authority to find out what they allow.

You may want to ask someone else to talk on your behalf to your local authority about roadside memorials. The Brake helpline can do this for you. Your solicitor, police contact, or another support agency may also be able to help.

If cards or notes are placed by other people, you may want to ask your police contact to retrieve them after a period of time and give them to you.

Website memorials

Some people bereaved in road crashes decide to have a website in memory of a person who died, and publish memories, poems, messages, pictures or videos on this website. There are several organisations dedicated to providing this service for you, including ones that are free or low cost. The Brake helpline can put you in touch with these services, call 0808 8000 401.

If the crash happened abroad

If a loved one died abroad, there may be many added complications, such as different legal procedures or a language barrier.

The Brake helpline works with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to provide emotional and practical support to families and friends in the UK of anyone killed in a road crash abroad.

If you have been in touch with the FCO you should have been offered Brake’s support. If not, you can call the helpline on 0808 8000 401 (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm) or email helpline@brake.org.uk.

You can also ask for support from FCO Consular staff based at British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates overseas, and in London in the Consular Directorate of the FCO.

These officials can:

  • give you information about burial or cremation in the country in which someone died, or information about transporting the body and personal belongings back to the UK;
  • advise you how to register a death in the country where the person died;
  • help you transfer money from the UK to pay costs;
  • offer basic information about the local police system and legal system, including the availability of any legal aid;
  • provide you with details of local lawyers, interpreters and funeral directors.

FCO staff cannot investigate deaths abroad nor give legal advice. If you have concerns about legal issues, a solicitor with experience of dealing with deaths abroad can advise you (see above).

If the person who died had travel insurance, it is advisable to contact the insurer as soon as possible, in case there is a possibility of a claim.


Click to go to the next section of this guide: Criminal investigation and charges or to return to the contents page.

Press releases and photo calls

Use this web page for tips on writing a press release and organising a photo call, and ‘selling in’ your story to local ‘hacks’. If you've never done this before, it's really not as challenging as you might imagine!

Writing a press release

You need to write and email a press release to local media to tell them all the important information about your event. Follow our tips below for writing a press release and go to our newsroom to see examples of press releases issued by Brake.

  • Use your group’s letterhead and write “press release” on the top and the date of issue.
  • Give the press release a short, clear headline.
  • Provide brief details of your news, using short sentences and paragraphs.
  • All your key points should be summarised in your first paragraph.
  • Remember to cover the five ‘w’s ? who, what, when, where and why.
  • Make sure your news is newsworthy! It should be about something you have just done or are about to do.
  • Include facts (eg. numbers of people who have ‘pledged’ to drive safely in your community).
  • Ask your local councillor, or another well-know person, to provide a supportive quote for your press release.
  • Include the name and telephone number of the person who can give further details.
  • Include a section in small print called ‘Notes to Editors’ at the bottom of the page, explaining the extent of deaths and injuries on local roads.
  • Attach a good photo (eg. a picture of a road safety poster that has won a local competition). This can improve the chances of your story being featured in a paper.

How to run a photocall

You can also organise a photocall. This is an opportunity for journalists to come along and take photographs and film for publication and broadcast, including doing interviews with you. A good photocall is where something happens (such as a balloon release commemorating the number of people who have died in your area) or there is a strong image (such as local children holding up a banner saying ‘SLOW DOWN’). Make sure you get permission, if you need it, for whatever you are planning.

  • Use your group’s letterhead and write “photocall” on the top and the date of issue.
  • Give your photocall the same headline as your press release.
  • Include clear details about the time, date, and place of your event.
  • Include the name and telephone number of the contact person.
  • Write a short description of your event. You can base this on a summary of your press release. Remember that the first paragraph of your press release should summarise all the key points of your event.
  • Hold a photocall at the beginning of your event, when everyone is available.
  • You can include details of your photocall along with the press release, but it is a good idea to send your photocall information to journalists again a few days before your event, as a reminder.

‘Sell-in’ your press release or photo call release

Remember to call your local media after you’ve sent your press release and photocall. Journalists can receive hundreds of press releases every day, so make sure that yours has reached the right person. Be persistent and don’t expect a journalist to return your call. You may have to send your information again, so make sure you’ve saved a copy of your press release. When your story is featured it can be a good idea to call the journalist and thank them. Building relationships with journalists increases the chance of them reporting on your activities again.

Pryers Winter Driving

Stay safe this winter

The Met Office has predicted an Arctic freeze and up to eight inches of snow being expected in some parts of the UK this Christmas. Snow fall, high winds and gales will lead to a short period of blizzard conditions thanks to an Arctic maritime air mass which will spread across the country.

The temperature change will come after what has been a particularly mild November, with some saying this has been the warmest November in 21 years.

Temperature and weather changes have a big effect on driving conditions. The driving surface, traffic flow and the automobile itself are all affected by changes in the weather. This not only affects the ability of people to travel but it can have a massive impact on productivity.

Personal injury specialists Pryers Solicitors deal with a lot of road traffic collisions. Jenny Barton for Pryers Solicitors said: “We are used to having to come in after an incident has taken place and fight to make sure the injured party receive all they are entitled to. However, we want to help make people aware of what they can do to avoid having an accident in the first place, which is why we produced this handy infographic so you know how to make sure you and your car are best equipped to get to your end destination safely.”

Plan ahead

De-icing a vehicle can take up to 10 minutes. The windscreen, other windows and mirrors need to be cleared fully, as driving with poor visibility is illegal. Avoid pouring hot or boiling water onto your windscreen as this could cause the glass to crack resulting in a significant repair bill. Ensure you remove snow and/or thick frost from all the vehicle’s lights, as if left on this can reduce the effectiveness of the lights making it harder for other road users to see you. Carefully monitor your fuel and windscreen wash levels to make sure you are not going to run out mid journey.

Take care of you

It is important to make sure you are carrying the right equipment with you, including a mobile with a full battery. Make sure you have warm waterproof shoes and clothing in case you end up needing to walk any distance. Also carry a spare blanket, a torch, and a first aid kit. Hot food and drinks is also a good idea if you are planning on a long journey.

Driving

When driving in snowy or icy conditions, it is vital that you stay alert and attentive to the road. Reduce your speed and increase the gap between you and the car in front. Remember any sudden or rough movements could lead to your vehicle sliding. If your vehicle begins to slide turn into it until you get your car back under control.

Most importantly pay attention to weather warnings and before setting off, ask yourself how vital the journey is – if you don’t urgently need to travel then don’t. Take a look at our inforgraphic below, or click here to download.

winter driving infographic