- A road death is not a normal death - it is sudden, violent, unexpected, and premature
- Every day, 5 people die on the roads in the UK and 3900 die worldwide
- 1 in 75 of us is bereaved through a road crash
Losing a loved one in a crash is devastating. Lives are shattered, and some never recover from the trauma. Family breakdown, job loss, depression and even suicide are the unfortunate consequences of losing a loved one in this way.
- Crashes are still seen as unfortunate 'accidents', instead of preventable collisions
- Society tolerates road death and disability as an acceptable price to pay for increased motorisation and convenience
- Crash victims do not have the same rights or support as other victims of crime or trauma.
We have been campaigning since 1992 to change this.
Brigitte Chaudhry describes the dismissive treatment of the relatives of road crash victims and why RoadPeace was set up:
A road death is not like a normal death. It is a violent death – as violent as murder, and like murder, totally unexpected. The bereaved need help, care and support at such a terrible time, especially as they face unfamiliar procedures – inquests, investigations and hearings – where knowledge of what is going on, and what their rights are, can prevent further suffering. Although well-structured support is almost automatically available to victims in other situations, the victims of road death seem to be totally ignored: they are left without any assistance – sympathy even – without proper information of how their loved ones died, and, apparently, without any rights. The often totally innocent death of a loved one appears to be a matter of little or no importance: this diminishes them, their life appearing to be devalued because a motor vehicle was the weapon.
In perhaps the majority of cases someone has caused their death by breaking the law, yet relatives are expected to accept the occurrence as ‘an accident’, and not to expect a proper investigation, information about proceedings, or a serious prosecution of the driver responsible for the death. If they protest they are dismissed as vindictive and accused of being vengeful. Not only are they faced with the horrendous fact of a loved one's - often their child’s – violent death, but with an attitude to those deaths which borders on the obscene and which cannot possibly be acceptable in a civilised society. This leaves the bereaved shocked and bewildered; it also causes deep emotional wounds.
Why I campaign: One bereaved mother's reasons
In 2005, we launched Women for Worldwide Peace on the Roads, and we asked our members why they campaign. This is one bereaved mother's response:
I campaign to highlight the inadequacies of an outdated legal system that has not evolved to address the problems caused by the increasing use and misuse of motor vehicles.
I campaign because I was, and still am:
- Devastated that my son was killed on the road
- Appalled that the driver responsible for his death was not held accountable
- Amazed that the Police failed to conduct a proper investigation
- Saddened that the Coroner could not deliver a verdict that reflected the manner in which he died
- Exhausted trying to comprehend a legal system that regards the killing of a human being by another as irrelevant
- Furious that his death was only mentioned to the Magistrates by chance—it was not considered or mentioned in the charge, and consequently not reflected in the sentence
- Bewildered that the previous motoring convictions of the driver could not be taken into account by the court
- Disbelieving of the level of leniency by the courts
- Angered that preventable crashes are perceived as accidents and that there is no deterrent for the perpetrators
- Dismayed at the apathy of politicians to address an escalating problem that affects everyone of us