By exploring the journey so far, we are able to also look ahead at the work we still have to do, from supporting those people affected by road death and injury through our National Road Victim Service, to campaigning for change and continuing to fight for safe and healthy mobility for all.

Like everyone, 2020 has been a challenging year for us. Our fundraising income has been hit hard. If you’d like to support our ongoing work, please donate to our 25th Birthday appeal here.


A brief history of Brake

1995* - Transport journalist Mary Williams establishes Brake as a grassroots campaigning charity to end the tragedy of road deaths and injuries. Brake calls for the impounding of trucks that are illegally run without an operating licence. This new law is subsequently passed.

*1997* - Brake extends its remit to support people affected by road crashes and promote best practice in managing road risk to fleets. National Road Safety Week is launched.

*1999* - Brake publishes literature to help people whose loved ones are in an intensive care unit.

*2000* - Mary Williams is awarded an OBE for services to road safety. Brake secures central government funding enabling support literature to be distributed by police to people bereaved by road crashes.

*2002* - Brake launches a dedicated bereavement service, to provide information, advice and emotional support to anyone affected by a road crash. First Fleet Service Awards celebrate the achievements of those working towards best practice for at-work drivers.

*2003* - Brake campaigns for a ban on using phones while driving. The launch of Beep Beep! Days educate very young children about road safety. Brake develops support literature for people seriously injured in a road crash.

*2004* - Brake trains volunteers to deliver road safety presentations in their local communities.

*2005* - Brake publishes new book to support children bereaved by road crashes to widespread acclaim from families and schools.

*2006* - Brake's bereavement packs become a compulsory part of the service of police Family Liaison Officers. After heavy campaigning from Brake, the Government announces guidelines giving scope for the reduction of 30mph to 20mph in local communities.

*2007* - Brake volunteers who have been bereaved by road crashes begin delivering training to police forces across the UK, helping to give police a greater understanding of their experiences. The number of speed cameras in the UK has risen from 367 (in 1995 when Brake founded) to 2,462.

*2008* - Brake campaigns to raise awareness of how the word accident is offensive to many road crash victims. Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency agrees to replace accident with crash, collision or incident in the Highway Code.

*2009* - Brake achieves Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous walking bus in multiple locations. Sudden, a support service for people bereaved by a sudden death, is launched.

*2011* - Brake launches in New Zealand and Australia and focuses on developing international members for Brake Professional, a service to help organisations that employ people who drive to manage road risk. More than 60,000 people from schools, businesses and community groups take part in Road Safety Week.

*2012* - Brake continues to lobby for a lower speed limit. The Brake helpline provides practical and emotional support for nearly 1,000 bereaved and injured victims of road crashes.

*2013* - The Government victims code recognises bereaved road crime victims as victims of serious crime.

*2014* - Scotland lowers its drink-drive limit. Brake campaigns for the limit in England and Wales, which remains the highest in Europe, to follow suit. More than 1,000 fleet professionals attend road safety events organised by Brake.

*2015* - The Helpline Partnership awards Brake the Helpline Standard, a quality standard that defines and accredits best practice in helpline work. After lobbying by Brake and other organisations, the government passes a law banning drug driving and allowing roadside testing for illegal drugs.

*2016* - Brake launches its Roads to Justice campaign, calling for tougher charges and penalties against killer drivers, investment in road traffic policing and for government-funded support for road crash victims.

*2017* - Government announces plans to introduce tougher penalties for drivers who kill or cause injury on the road. Brake launches its Family Liaison Officer Awards to celebrate Family Liaison Officers' commitment and dedication to bereaved families.

*2018* - Brake launches a manifesto for fleet safety and sustainability to engage global fleets with best practice. More than 100,000 children take part in Brake’s Kids Walk, putting their best foot forward to promote the health and planet-saving benefits of walking. Brake becomes a member of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration. Brake partners with police forces to raise awareness of good driver eyesight. Lobbying for improved young driver safety contributes to learner drivers being permitted to take driving lessons on motorways.

*2019* - Brake launches a vision and manifesto for safe and healthy mobility. Lobbying by Brake contributes to the adoption of legislation mandating new life-saving technology to be fitted to new vehicles in the EU by 2022. Brake projects are widely referenced in the UK Government’s Road Safety Statement 2019: A Lifetime of Road Safety.

*2020* - Brake attends Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety and co-authors UN Road Safety Collaboration fleet safety report. Brake’s National Road Victim Service receives funding support from the Department for Transport and Brake relaunches and extends the Sudden service to support people bereaved by COVID-19. Now, we must ask for your help and support. Please would you donate to our Birthday Appeal and help save lives on our roads. Your donation today, will help us continue with our life-saving work for the next 25 years.

Rebecca Stuart

Rebecca Stuart

Digital marketing officer at Brake