Brake honours passion and commitment of road safety campaigners at annual awards

27 January 2017

Brake, the road safety charity, in partnership with Direct Line Group, has honoured parliamentarians, campaigners, and volunteers for their tireless efforts to raise awareness of road safety and help to prevent road crashes.

Hundreds of Brake supporters gathered at the charity’s annual reception at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday night to celebrate the work of everyone involved in UK road safety. Awards were presented by Deborah Johnson, chair of Brake’s board of trustees, and Gus Park, Managing Director of Motor Insurance for Direct Line Group.

Gary Rae, Director of campaigns and communications at Brake, said: “Our annual awards at the Houses of Parliament are an opportunity for Brake to thank all of its supporters for their hard work, and to recognise those individuals who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to improve road safety. I feel incredibly privileged to stand alongside so many individuals who share Brake’s passion for road safety, and who have worked tirelessly to make our roads safer for everyone.”

Gus Park, Managing Director of Motor Insurance at Direct Line Group, said: “Direct Line Group was delighted to sponsor another lively and well attended annual reception. It’s become such a firm fixture on all of our calendars. It's a reminder of the importance Parliamentarians and others play in the continuing challenge of improving safety for all road users in this country and beyond.”

Road safety minister Andrew Jones said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world. I share Brake’s passion to make them even safer. We are taking action in many areas to improve road safety; soon we are doubling the points and fines for reckless motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving. We are also spending £175 million on improving the 50 most dangerous roads in England, and have achieved great results with our new drug driving legislation.”

The winners:

Brake’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award: Liz McInnes, MP for Heywood and Middleton

Liz has been recognised for her work supporting the campaign of Dawn and Ian Brown-Lartey to achieve justice for victims of road crime. Liz worked diligently on behalf of the Brown-Larteys, making representations in the Commons, and also behind the scenes with ministers. Liz also actively campaigned in the media to raise awareness of the need for a sentencing review for road crimes, and was a passionate supporter of Brake’s Roads to Justice campaign.

Liz McInnes said: “I am incredibly humbled to receive this award. Many other campaigners including MPs from all parties, and of course wonderful organisations including Brake, have also worked tremendously hard to give this issue the attention it deserves. 

“The punishment for causing death by dangerous driving must fit the crime. Too many families like the Brown-Lartey’s have had to cope with the insult of their loved one’s killer being given a derisory sentence. I was delighted in December when the government finally gave confirmation that a public consultation on this issue would be held and I hope that it brings us one step closer to a change in the law.”

Brake’s Campaigner of the Year Award: Dawn and Ian Brown-Lartey

Dawn and Ian Brown-Lartey lost their son, 25 year old Joseph, when a speeding driver ran a red light at more than 80 miles per hour. Shocked at the sentence given to the person who killed Joseph, they resolved to campaign for tougher jail sentences, and with their local radio station, launched the #JusticeforJoseph campaign.

They later endorsed Brake’s #RoadstoJustice campaign, taking the brave step of allowing the car in which Joseph died to be used to help launch the campaign, which proved to be Brake’s most successful-ever launch event.

Dawn and Ian Brown-Lartey said: "We’re delighted to receive this award. Working with the Brake team this year has been so rewarding and we could not have achieved this alone. Brake do such a great job and their work is so necessary".

Brake’s Outstanding Contribution by a Journalist to Road Safety Award: Michelle Livesey

A new award was introduced at this year’s ceremony, to recognise the important contribution that journalists can make to road safety campaigning.

The winner of this award is campaigning journalist Michelle Livesey of KEY 103. Michelle became involved in Dawn and Ian Brown-Larteys’ #JusticeforJoseph campaign very early on, offering support to the Brown-Larteys in spreading their campaign message and securing attention from other journalists and politicians. Michelle also became passionately involved in Brake’s #RoadstoJustice campaign; her involvement was instrumental to the campaign’s success.

Michelle Livesey said: "This award was totally unexpected and such a pleasure to receive. My work is about making sure people's voices are heard and this can only be done as part of a team. The Roads to Justice campaign has captured the attention of the public and Government - now we must all keep fighting for the law to be changed"

Notes to Editors:

Images of all the winners will be available on Friday morning.

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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 campaignscommunity educationservices 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 TwitterFacebook, 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 U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K 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 0345 246 3761 or visiting

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