September Song JP Cooper
17 November 2014, 06:28
A road safety campaign, backed by a Sunderland mum whose son was killed by a speeding driver, is being launched in the North East.
Violet Atkinson's son Steven (pictured) was knocked down and killed by a speeding driver in October 2009.
The 12 year old was pushing his bike across Chester Road when he was hit.
He was rushed to hospital, where he died from his injuries.
At such a young age, Steven had already overcome more than many do in a lifetime.
Born with a number of health problems and diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of three, he had battled to stay healthy and had won the hearts of many for his bravery and enthusiasm for life.
The driver, 20 year old Ross Telfer, had been speeding at 53mph in a 30mph limit when he hit Steven.
In August 2010 he admitted causing death by careless driving. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Violet Atkinson, Steven's mum, told Capital:
"After everything Steven went through, I am so proud of him. He never looked at his health as a problem and lived every day to the full. No words can describe the grief our family has gone through since his death.
There's a piece of us missing and there's no way to escape that. My son is gone. I will never see him again, and it will never get easier.
I don't want another mother to experience the pain of seeing her child die. People need to wake up to the consequences of driving irresponsibly.
During this year's Road Safety Week, I'm asking everyone to look out for each other on the road, and in particular for drivers to slow down to 20mph in communities, look twice and take it slow at junctions and bends, and give pedestrians and cyclists plenty of room."
You can hear Violet's story here:
A fixed penalty for 'careless driving' or speeding is issued in the North East every 11 minutes
And half (49%) of primary school children in the North East say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.
Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the 76 deaths caused by dangerous driving in the North East every year.