A mum has joined West Midlands Police to help the force hammer home the potentially tragic consequences of not wearing a seatbelt – after her son died in a car smash while not belted up.
Sukhi Atwal will visit schools and speak to drivers and passengers as part of a week-long awareness campaign to highlight the dangers.
Her Amar, aged 12, died while a rear seat passenger in a relative’s Mitsubishi Outlander which was struck by a taxi in Hollyhedge Road, West Bromwich, in May 2015.
The cab driver caused the collision after shooting across a give-way junction and was jailed for six years for causing death by dangerous driving.
Amar – who suffered serious head injuries after being thrown from the vehicle – was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.
Above: Footage of the collision between the car and taxi
Mrs Atwal is now joining traffic officers and West Midlands Police Special Constable Clive Broadhurst – who campaigns on seatbelt safety at schools across the region – as part of an international seatbelt awareness campaign running from today (13 March) until Friday.
She will be at a roadside checkpoint urging motorists to make sure all passengers wear seatbelts and that youngsters are safely strapped in child car seats.
Mrs Atwal, from Great Barr, said: “We will never get over the loss of Amar; he was such a bright, intelligent, fun-loving boy. He was an innocent victim of the crash and there is now a huge hole which can never be filled in our lives.
“Wearing a seatbelt could have saved his life…at the very least it would have given him a better chance of survival.
“We can never get Amar back – but I just hope by encouraging both young and old to try and be as safe as possible they won’t have to go through the heartbreak we have.”
Clive – who has produced a heartfelt video featuring images of Amar and Suki that will be used during his school inputs – added: “I regularly go around schools to give road safety advice and urge pupils to be strapped in…it can prevent serious injuries or even save your life.
“It has been the law for more than 30 years to wear a seatbelt and only takes a few seconds to buckle up – but it is still surprising the amount of people who don’t.
“It is very brave of Sukhi to share her experience and hopefully it will hit home how wearing a seatbelt can make a difference. She doesn’t want any other family to suffer the heartbreak she has had to endure.”
Officers from Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) will be monitoring motorways and other routes across The Midlands as part of the week-long campaign; drivers who are pulled over for not wearing one face a £100 fine.
In two separate week-long campaigns across the UK last year there were more than 7,600 offences reported – and research has shown wearing a seatbelt reduces the chances of being killed in a car crash by 50 per cent.
Inspector Sion Hathaway, from CMPG, said: “We really can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a seatbelt . Not only do you risk a fine if caught not using one but they can prove a life-saver.”