Bristol MP wins national road safety award

13 June 2016

news@brake.org.uk

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has been given the accolade of Parliamentarian of the Month in 2016 for May, by the road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Group. The award recognises Karin’s work fighting for tougher road safety regulations following the death of Freddie Hussey.

Three-year-old Freddie was crushed by a two-tonne trailer when it became detached from a Land Rover that was passing by as Freddie and his Mum were walking home. Ever since his death, Freddie’s parents have been fighting for tougher regulations for vehicles towing trailers.

Their cause has been championed by Karin Smyth, who was only elected as an MP in 2015 and put the Hussey’s case to the Government in a Westminster Hall debate in January. Her tireless work also saw several meetings with the Road Minister Andrew Jones.
The effort by the Hussey family, the local community and Ms Smyth has now seen guidance from the Driver and Vehicle Safety Agency (DVSA) being re-written to heighten awareness of trailer roadworthiness. Alongside this there will also be an awareness campaign will run through the summer and A new video is being developed by DVSA demonstrating how to carry out safety checks on trailers.

It is clear without the campaigning of Karin Smyth that these changes would not have been made. Her influence along with the work by the Hussey family has brought positive change through much tighter regulations.

Brake is campaigning for better justice for both the victims of road crashes and the families of those killed by criminal driving. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #roadstojustice

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns, for Brake, said: “We are delighted to recognise another MP who has played a vital role in making our roads safer, not only in her constituency, but also across the whole country.

“The story of how Freddie Hussey lost his life is a horrifically tragic one. The family have clearly overcome a lot and their dedication to this campaign alongside the work of Karin Smyth deserves much credit. Hopefully what has been achieved here will ensure that no other family has to suffer the loss that the Hussey family has.”

Accepting his award, Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said: “This award is a tribute to the relentless campaigning of Freddie’s Hussey family, and to the local community which has supported them through incredibly difficult times. Together we have been resolute in our wish that some good should come of Freddie’s tragic death.

“My aim was, and remains, bringing the family’s experiences to the attention of government and I am pleased that Brake has acknowledged my work in Parliament in this way. We are making good progress in bringing about change that can help improve safety on our roads. This is vital work, since we can be in no doubt that there are more accidents waiting to happen if the right changes aren’t made.”

Notes to Editors:

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, 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 campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, 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.

Follow Brake on Twitter, Facebook, or The Brake Blog.

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.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or online.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.