Mother backs young drivers' campaign

A MOTHER has spoken out about the devastating effects of her son's death as part of a new campaign to make young drivers think twice about speeding Cherie Archer, 56, whose son Richard crashed his car while speeding, spoke to the EADT after it was revealed 1,635 people were killed or injured last year in accidents involving young drivers on Essex's roads.

By Annie Davidson

A MOTHER has spoken out about the devastating effects of her son's death as part of a new campaign to make young drivers think twice about speeding

Cherie Archer, 56, whose son Richard crashed his car while speeding, spoke to the EADT after it was revealed 1,635 people were killed or injured last year in accidents involving young drivers on Essex's roads.

The Essex Safety Camera Partnership has now launched a hard-hitting campaign to cut the number of young people involved in crashes.


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As part of the countywide Young Drivers Campaign, radio adverts and posters in nightclubs and pubs will aim to make young drivers stop and think.

The partnership has also produced a DVD with a crash reconstruction, photographs of serious road accidents, and interviews with paramedics and victims.

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It will be given out at schools, colleges, universities and other meeting places for young people, and traffic police will give it to all young drivers they stop during the course of the campaign.

Last night, Mrs Archer revealed her family had been divided by her son's death in a road accident in April 2002.

Richard Archer, 20, was killed when his BMW crashed into some railings as he tried to overtake three other cars.

The accident, which happened close to the family's home in Bradwell-on-Sea, was the third one which Mr Archer had been involved in.

Mrs Archer said her son had crashed twice before, once coming off a roundabout when driving too fast and the second time going into a ditch as he took a bend too quickly.

However, her hopes that he would calm down were dashed when he bought a Fiat and “souped-up” the engine so it would go faster.

Mrs Archer, a childminder and Neighbourhood Watch volunteer, said she had always feared he would kill himself with his love of speed and that fast driving “was almost like a drug to him.”

Four months before his death he bought a BMW, which was the car he eventually died in as he drove with three friends, who all survived the crash. None of them were wearing seatbelts.

Mrs Archer said she felt great anger towards her son and that had not lessened over the years. She no longer visits his grave after earlier throwing floral tributes away as she felt her son “did not deserve them.”

Mrs Archer said her other son, two daughters and her husband all felt the crash was an accident and did not feel anger towards Mr Archer.

This had caused division in the family and she and her eldest daughter have not spoken since the first anniversary of his death.

“Some people think I am a horrible mum because I can't feel love for my son any more but they don't understand how I feel,” said Mrs Archer.

“They have never carried a child for nine months, loved him and cared for him and kept him safe from danger and then seen him die all because he wouldn't listen to what I'd told him.

“Before the crash we were a very caring, loving family but now we have been split apart because I find it so hard coming to terms with what has happened.

“We all still live in the same house but things will never be the same again and all because of a son who would not listen when I told him to stop speeding.

“I really loved that boy but now I feel like I hate him for the crash and for splitting the family. I don't know what the future will bring.”

Mrs Archer, who features on the DVD, said she hoped the campaign would make young men and women stop and think twice before speeding.

“Speed kills - I know it does. You could kill yourself or someone else. Look at the campaign very carefully and take it all in. It is not worth speeding,” she said.

New figures from the Essex Safety Camera Partnership show that 126 people in Colchester were killed or injured in crashed involving young drivers during 2005.

Drivers aged between 17 and 25 represent only 4.4% of all licence holders nationally but are involved in 13% cent of all accidents, the partnership said.

INTERNET LINK

www.essexsafetycameras.co.uk/youngdrivers

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