THE family of a teenager killed in a drink-drive crash has backed a campaign to urge passengers to speak out if they suspect a driver is over the limit.
Aaron Howard and Andrew Mudway were both 17 when they got in to Jim Carney’s Vauxhall Cavalier SRi almost nine years ago.
Just a few minutes later on May 7, 2005 Andrew was dead along with Carney, who was twice over the drink-drive limit. Aaron died the next day in hospital.
Horrific incidents like that could be stopped.
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill has urged car passengers to speak out against drink drivers after one in four admitted to being too self-conscious to say anything about a suspected drink driver.
“If I saw anything that led me to believe someone had been drinking and they were going to drive, or were driving, I would report them straightaway,” said Andrew’s mum Lesley.
Andrew was a front-seat passenger in Carney’s car, which slammed in to a stone shed in Sling near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. Carney was seen driving at up to 80mph in a 30mph zone shortly before the crash.
The Gloucestershire coroner recorded unlawful killing verdicts for Aaron and Andrew, and of death by misadventure on Carney, 22, from Coleford. He already had a conviction for drink driving, and the coroner said his “reprehensible” driving would have seen him prosecuted had he lived.
Earlier this month, Dursley teenager Molly Zoglowek, 19, was jailed for two years for causing the crash which left Dursley Rugby Club player Rob Camm, 20, tetraplegic.
Her Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin was designed for four people, but she was carrying five passengers – and was over the drink-drive limit. She pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink driving.
But research for the THINK! Easter drink-drive campaign showed that a quarter of respondents admitted they had been in a car where the driver has been over the alcohol limit but said nothing because they were too embarrassed.
The campaign was launched on Thursday April 17 ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend where people may drink more.
“Everyone knows that drinking and driving is not only against the law, it’s extremely dangerous,” said Mr Goodwill.
“It may well be the responsibility of drivers to ensure they don’t do it, but passengers can also discourage drinking and driving by speaking out. Clearly the majority of passengers feel confident enough to say something, but it is worrying that a significant proportion feel too shy to pipe up.
“I would urge anyone who sees someone attempting to drive after drinking to speak out confidently, take away their keys and call them a taxi. You could be helping them avoid a heavy fine, a driving ban or even a prison sentence. You could even be saving their life and the lives of others.”
The research was commissioned in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the hard-hitting drink-drive campaigns, the first of which was launched in 1964.
The research shows that the public attitude to drink driving has changed significantly in the past few decades, leading to a dramatic fall in the number of deaths due to drink driving on Britain’s roads. There were 240 deaths from drinking and driving in 2011, six times lower than in 1979, when detailed reporting of road accidents began and 1,640 people lost their lives as a result of drink driving.
But the research also showed that some young people would not be concerned about someone who drove after drinking with a meal.