On Day Three of the RoadPeace Challenge 2023, we focus our attention on an inspirational person who has campaigned tirelessly over recent years for changes to be made to improve the safety of vehicles, roads and road users. Meera Naran MBE is an independent road safety campaigner whose son Dev died in a smart motorway collision in 2018.
Meera is pressing for the government to pass Dev’s Law, meaning all vehicles should be fitted with AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), which she believes could have saved her son’s life.
By Meera Naran
My son Dev died in a smart motorway collision in 2018. He was only 8 years old. He was still young but not so young that he hadn’t already mapped out his future dreams and plans. Mummy, he would ask, “What is a mortgage and what would I need to get one?”
To a stranger, his questions would seem like they had been plucked out of thin air but to me, I knew. I knew that he was busy making plans; plans that included growing old with his brother Neel.
Dev’s older brother Neel was born a year before him and at just three days old was diagnosed with a rare condition which left him with irreversible brain damage. Dev knew his brother was not like other siblings. He saw that. He felt it. And sadly, he heard it too. As a mum, I tried my best to protect and shield him from the unkind words of others. But Dev was sensitive to the judgement he saw his brother face.
It meant that Dev grew up faster than most. He had seen an ambulance arrive at our house in the middle of the night to take his brother to the hospital. He’d learnt how to do basic CPR at an earlier age. But what struck me more than anything, was the fact he knew he wanted to make a difference in the world. He’d decided at a young age that he would be a brain surgeon (and a rockstar guitarist on the weekends). Who was I to argue with that?
I would often sit and listen to him, talking about space, the world, science, medicine and music and have to shake my head to remind myself that he was really just eight. “I’ve got this mummy” he would say as I would try and dress his brother. “He’s my brother”. I would step back and just watch as they would speak in their own made-up language, giggling and laughing. I genuinely felt honoured to witness such love.
As a mother, I wanted to show him everything I could about life. But I was also aware that I wanted him to enjoy his childhood. And so in between his very serious conversations, I would challenge him to a nerf gun game or randomly put on music and start dancing with him in the living room. I’d tell him that I loved him way too many times in the day. And sadly, as a constant reminder that he’s no longer here, I’m still the winner on our leadership board for pulling pranks.
The night Dev died, that version of me died too. Because losing a child isn’t like any other pain or grief – it destroys you. Piece by piece. Moment by moment.
He wanted to be a surgeon, a husband, a father. We didn’t just lose him in that moment, we lost everything. Our hopes and dreams for the future. Everything.
But to my despair, that night my heart didn’t stop beating or stop loving him. Instead, the love still continued – but with nowhere to go.
And so, when I began my campaign, Safer Drivers on Safer Roads, I made a promise to myself that I would never give up in trying to prevent other families going through what we had. I made a promise to myself that other parents would never have to get that phone call. For me, every parent should have the honour, joy, and pride of seeing their kids grow and flourish in their lives.
And with that, I humbly ask you to please join the RoadPeace Challenge 2023 to make a united stand with me and so many others, against road harm to support zero deaths on our roads.
Road deaths are preventable.
In honour of my beautiful boy, Dev Naran (forever 8)
Updated on: 17 May 2023