Parents want change in drink-drive laws

THE parents of a teenager who died after being hit by a car driven by a man only just under the drink-drive limit are to petition the Government for a change in the law.

Annie Davidson

THE parents of a teenager who died after being hit by a car driven by a man only just under the drink-drive limit are to petition the Government for a change in the law.

Jordan Bell was killed as she crossed Layer Road in Colchester and collided with a car driven by a motorist who was only just within the drink-drive limit.

The 14-year-old Alderman Blaxill pupil died at Colchester General Hospital shortly after the accident in March last year.


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Now her parents, Michelle and Steve Bell, are collecting signatures for a petition which calls for the blood alcohol limit for motorists to be lowered from 80mcgs to 50mcgs, as it is in some European countries.

The couple, who have been left devastated by the loss of their only child, are being backed in their campaign by Colchester MP Bob Russell.

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Mrs Bell said: “We feel if a lower drink-drive limit was introduced people would be less likely to take the risk of drink-driving.

“There should be stiffer penalties for people who drink and drive - they only get a slap on the wrist.

“We don't believe we would get zero tolerance to drink-driving but think we should be bought in line with Europe, it would save confusion and people would not have that one drink 'for the road'.”

Mrs Bell, who runs a driving school with her husband, a colour sergeant with 2 Para, said she believed any amount of alcohol impaired driving ability and added: “We feel strongly that people should drive safely, we do it ourselves and our daughter was taught that too.

“It has been a double blow, it has been very difficult to go out and teach knowing what has happened.”

Jordan died after being hit by a Volkswagen Golf GTI being driven by Mark Batten, then 28, who later admitted driving without due care and attention and at excessive speed.

He was fined a total of �750 and disqualified from driving for 12 months but was not charged with a more serious offence because he was 2mcg under the 80mcg blood alcohol limit.

Batten, of Pebmarsh Road, Colchester, had sounded his horn and did “all he could” to avoid hitting Jordan, who some witnesses said had stepped out without apparently looking as she listened to a portable music player.

Mr Russell, who has agreed to present the final petition to the Government, said: “Much was made at the time of the inquest in the national press that this was a young girl who had lost her life because she was wearing headphones but if the driver had not been travelling at nearly 40mph I don't think he wouldn't have hit her - he was at fault, not her.

“Mr and Mrs Bell are doing all they can to ensure other families do not go through what they have been through.”

Mr Russell, who is the chairman of the all party group for justice for road victims, and chairman of the all party road safety group, said he supported their call for the drink-drive limit to be lowered to 50mcg.

Anyone wishing to sign the petition or collect signatures to add to it can contact Mr and Mrs Bell on email at michelle.d.bell@btopenworld.com

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