Strong and driven women are at the heart of a major campaign designed to reduce death and injury on the UK’s roads.
United by their plight to reduce road harm, they are at the centre of the RoadPeace Challenge – a campaign that brings together the police, fire and rescue service, ambulance crews, NHS, doctors, nurses and other professionals who witness the daily devastation caused by road crashes, alongside victims and bereaved families.
To mark International Women’s Day today (March 8, 2022), the women, from a variety of backgrounds and areas across the UK, have joined forces to make a united stand against the unacceptable number of people who are killed or injured in road collisions in the UK.
Every day, five people are killed and hundreds are injured, on average, in road collisions. Despite these staggering figures, the public is largely unaware that so many people are affected by collisions, and many don’t believe that they or their loved ones will be involved in a crash.
The RoadPeace Challenge, which includes a week of action between May 15-21, 2023, will raise vital funds for RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, as well as much-needed awareness about the risks we all face when we use the roads.
The campaign gives road crash victims and bereaved families a voice and gives them an opportunity to tell their stories in the hope of preventing others from walking in their shoes.
Among the many women behind the campaign are:
- Chief Constable Jo Shiner, of Sussex Police, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for roads policing – As well as being the top roads policing officer in the UK, CC Shiner’s father was killed in a road crash when she was a teenager
- Katy Bourne OBE, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner – the national lead for road safety for the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners
- Sara Dowling, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations at RoadPeace – Sara is a senior leader at the national charity for road crash victims and co-founder of the RoadPeace Challenge
- Rebecca Morris, communications and partnerships lead at RoadPeace, a long-standing road danger PR specialist, co-founder of the Challenge, and is leading the delivery of the 2023 RoadPeace Challenge
- Meera Naran MBE – An independent road safety campaigner whose eight-year-old son Dev was killed on a motorway in 2018
- Professor Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, working in Sussex – Lead author of “Exercise the miracle cure” highlighting the health benefits of active travel, including prevention and treatment of major health conditions and road traffic collisions
- Dr Helen Wells, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Keele University, Staffordshire, and Director of the Roads Policing Academic Network – Helen specialises in researching roads policing issues, drink and drug driving, speeding, distracted driving and uninsured driving
- Sarah Vaughan, Director at Angelica Solutions Services Insurance Consulting – A company owner, passionate about proactively reducing road death and injury and has been a keen supporter of the RoadPeace Challenge since its inception
- Pauline Fielding MBE, RoadPeace Trustee and Co-ordinator of the RoadPeace North West Group – Pauline’s 18-year-old son Andrew was killed in a road crash in 1994 and she has campaigned for safer roads ever since
- Kate Uzzell, Co-ordinator of the RoadPeace South West Group – Kate’s husband Martyn was killed in North Yorkshire during a charity ride from Land’s End to John O’GroatsSonya Byers, CEO of Women in Transport – A not-for-profit established in 2005 aimed at supporting women in the transport industry
- Ciara Lee, from Berkshire – Her husband Eddy was killed in 2018, when their son was just two, after a van driver ploughed into his motorcycle on the M4. Ciara is a co-founder of the RoadPeace Challenge
- Sharron Huddleston, of Cumbria – Sharron’s 18-year-old daughter Caitlin was killed in 2017 after the car she travelling in as a front-seat passenger, collided with an oncoming van
- Nicole Taylor, of Northamptonshire – Nicole’s daughter Beccy was killed in a road crash in 2008, aged 18, and she has campaigned for safer roads since then
What some of these remarkable women had to say:
Sara Dowling, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations at RoadPeace, said: “Road crashes should not be tolerated as the inevitable cost of motorisation. As a society, we are not doing enough to prevent the many people who are killed and injured on our roads every day.
“The RoadPeace Challenge aims to change this and will tell the real stories and the emotions behind road crashes and the devastating impact they have on victims, families, communities and the emergency services.
“We’re delighted to have the support of so many strong and inspiring women who are all determined to work together to reduce road harm.”
Jo Shiner, Chief Constable of Sussex Police, the NPCC lead for Roads Policing and bereaved daughter, said: “We must continue to work together to reduce death and serious injury on our roads. I am very proud and privileged, as a woman, to lead the NPCC Roads Policing Portfolio and play a part in our collective progress towards Vision Zero.
“I know what it means to have a loved one killed on the roads and am passionate about reducing the number of families that suffer that immense, avoidable, and lasting loss.”
Bereaved Mum and road harm campaigner, Nicole Taylor, said: “No mother should ever experience losing their child. My life turned upside down in 2008 when I lost my beautiful daughter Beccy in a car crash. She was just 18-years-old, when her life was really just beginning.
“Unbeknown to me, road casualties are the biggest killer in the UK of those aged 17 to 24. We do not give road deaths the equity they deserve or provide the support families need after such a life-changing event. More focus and energy are needed to tackle this terrible and tragic epidemic of road casualties.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne OBE, the national lead for road safety for the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners said: “It is a privilege to be surrounded by so many women striving for the same goal – safer roads. Many of these women know all too well the devastating consequences of dangerous driving and will feel the impact for the rest of their lives.
“Your loved ones should never have to hear the dreadful news that you won’t be coming home which is why I remain determined to work hard and change behaviours on our roads.
“Whether it is by providing the police with state-of-the-art tools to understand why collisions take place, working alongside others in educating the public on how they can protect themselves and others as road users, or by ensuring victims receive the best possible care and support, I remain committed to ensuring all Police and Crime Commissioners make road safety a priority.”
Bereaved Mum and road harm campaigner, Pauline Fielding, said: “Throughout my life, I have been inspired by incredible women from my grandmother, mother and sister to my female friends from RoadPeace, from Brigitte Chaudhry our founder, Zoe Stowe and Cynthia Barlow, past chairs to our current chair, Petra Kendall-Raynor, who have supported and encouraged me. So many of my friends made through RoadPeace have sustained me during my fight for change and in supporting road crash victims. Sincere thanks to them all.”
Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, said: “In 2021, 27,450 people were reported killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads. If these deaths or serious injuries from road traffic crashes were a cancer, they’d represent the fifth leading new cancer diagnosis in the UK—with only prostate, lung, breast, and bowel cancer higher. This is a public health matter, and health inequalities play a big part.”
Bereaved Mum and road harm campaigner, Sharron Huddleston, said: “I think of my energy and focus to campaign and drive to raise awareness of the dangers posed to young drivers and their passengers, as a loving parting gift that Caitlin has given to me.
“She has given me the courage to be a voice for her and to speak up in her memory. Through Caitlin’s name and sadly, her sudden and preventable death, I hope to stop this heart-breaking tragedy from happening to any other young innocent person and their family.”
Dr Helen Wells, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Keele University, and Director of the Roads Policing Academic Network, said: “Road death and injury destroys lives and the legacy of its impact lasts for generations. My motivation has always been to bring together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to make a difference and in recent years it has been a privilege to work alongside some truly inspiring women who share this mission.”
Sonya Byers, CEO of Women in Transport, said: “Our mission at Women in Transport is supporting women in the transport industry. Our members have told us that safety is a priority for them – they want to feel safe, both as transport workers and as users of the network.
“We have made a commitment through our President’s strategy to work with industry, parliamentarians and government to ensure women’s safety is a top priority. I am proud to stand united with this incredible group of women to support Vision Zero.
“I had the honour of listening to Meera Naran at an event last year and I was struck by her strength, passion and commitment to campaigning in memory of her beautiful son. I am in awe of the courage shown by the families and survivors of these tragedies. My hope is that the RoadPeace Challenge can help raise awareness and reduce the harm caused by road crashes.”
Sign up for the RoadPeace Challenge here.
For sponsorship opportunities, giving companies an opportunity to make a public stand against road harm, please see our packages here.
Pictured in the above image:
Top row l-r: Ciara Lee, Katy Bourne OBE, Sara Dowling, Meera Naran MBE and CC Jo Shiner.
Middle l-r: Nicole Taylor, Scarlett McNally, Dr Helen Wells, Sarah Vaughan
Bottom l-r: Kate Uzzell, Sonya Byers, Pauline Fielding MBE, Sharron Huddleston, Rebecca Morris
Updated on: 8 March 2023