‘Don’t let others die the way my son did’ – mum’s plea to Sunderland drivers

Violet Atkinson of Sunderland , mum to the late Steven Atkinson launches a major road safety campaign with Brake at Sunderland college Usworth Campus. She is seen here with a picture of her son before the event, which featured a demonstration by the fire brigade of cutting injured people free from a car.

Violet Atkinson of Sunderland , mum to the late Steven Atkinson launches a major road safety campaign with Brake at Sunderland college Usworth Campus. She is seen here with a picture of her son before the event, which featured a demonstration by the fire brigade of cutting injured people free from a car.

2
Have your say

A MUM whose son was killed by a speeding driver has been left shocked by new road accident figures in Sunderland.

Violet Atkinson’s son, Steven, was just 12 when he was killed at The Broadway in Grindon.

Today Violet urged Wearside’s drivers to “slow down” as the dark nights draw in and “help prevent another tragedy”.

Figures released by Road Safety GB North East show 381 people have been killed or injured on the city’s roads during the past five years.

The Atkinson family, of Ford Estate, know all too well the devastation that can be caused when drivers break the speed limit.

Sandhill View School pupil Steven had been crossing the road in October 2009, when he was hit by Ross Telfer’s car.

The then 21-year-old, of Chester-le-Street, had been driving at 53mph in a 30mph zone and was given 16 months in jail after admitting causing death by careless driving.

Since Steven’s death, Violet, 41, has campaigned to see speeding drivers handed stiffer sentences.

She said: “I just want people to stop, to think about their driving.

“You might think what’s happened to my family could never happen to you – but it could.

“People have no idea how many lives are affected by road accidents. It’s not just the victim, it’s everyone around them.”

Violet’s calls come as the figures reveal 103 people were killed or seriously injured on Sunderland’s roads since 2008, with another 278 suffering less serious injuries. The most at risk group are young people aged between 16 and 24, who account for a third of all adult pedestrian casualties in the region, with alcohol and failing to pay attention the two major contributing factors.

The heaviest nights for pedestrian casualties are Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, when the city’s pubs and clubs are at their busiest.

Alan Kennedy, chairman of Road Safety GB, said; “Every year we see pedestrians needlessly injured and tragically killed on our roads and these deaths and injuries could be avoided with just a bit more care.

“Young adults who are out after dark, particularly those that are drinking, are most at risk.

“People on foot are not always easy to see at night or at times of poor weather, so we would appeal to drivers to take extra care and to watch their speed.”

Violet believes one answer to reducing the figures is harsher punishments for speeding drivers.

She added: “Three points and a fine isn’t really enough.

“People would think more about what they were doing if the consequences were greater. I just want people to think before they get behind the wheel and start speeding.”