|London, 13 Feb 2005.
For immediate release.
"How low can these people sink? One can imagine happy youngsters opening their mail with the excitement of receiving a valentine card from a girlfriend, boyfriend or admirer - only to be confronted with this."He continued:
"The most horrifying aspect is that it is likely that some of those receiving this card will have lost a loved one. One can only begin to imagine the anguish and upset such a cruel trick will cause."ABD Road Safety Spokesman Mark McArthur Christie added:
"We have for years been attempting to persuade the authorities to send out genuinely useful road safety advice such as how to predict hazards and adjust speed to suit. This would be a valuable exercise as most of the small number of accidents, contributed to by excessive speed, occur entirely within the speed limit. Proper education messages on how to set speed for the conditions would be far better received and acted upon by our young drivers than yet another scare tactic containing no useful information. But the Government is only interested in 'driving by numbers' and scaring/punishing drivers into complying with limits whilst not showing the slightest interest in tackling the real problem of dangerous and careless driving."
|Dear Mr xxxxxxxxxx,
I would like to begin by expressing our apologies for the way you feel about our campaign.
As you may be aware, young drivers are a vulnerable group on the roads. Casualty figures demonstrate they are particularly at risk, accounting for 10% of driving licences but involved in 23% of accidents - sometimes because they drive too fast.
Young drivers are also particularly difficult to communicate road safety messages to. Prior to the launch of the campaign in 2001, extensive research was undertaken with young drivers, including the impact of the Valentines card. The research concluded that like you, they found the message shocking - but admitted it made an impact and encouraged them to think.
Last year 80,000 of these cards were distributed in the run up to Valentines Day which resulted in a handful of comments such as yours. However, a significant amount of positive feedback was received, applauding the strong impact. Indeed, the campaign's effectiveness won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2004.
The London Safety Camera Partnership is committed to reducing the number of accidents and injuries on London's roads caused by speeding and red light running. As part of our commitment to road safety, we work with families and charities that have lost loved ones in accidents, to address the main issues and to deliver messages in the most effective manner. Indeed, For my Girlfriend has received the support of a family who lost their daughter:
Mrs Giulietta Galli-Atkinson, whose daughter was killed in a road collision in 1998 said:
"My 16 year old daughter was killed when a car mounted the pavement on which she travelled along it. The car had first demolished, and driven over, a two-metre metal post and injured another pedestrian, before hitting and dragging Livia to her death. The tragic fact is that nearly all fatalities and injuries on our roads are preventable. These are not accidents - they are caused by appalling irresponsible behaviour, speeding being one of the most common infringements. A speeding vehicle is a lethal weapon. Campaigns such as these, warning young drivers about the dangers of speeding and the role of safety cameras are both necessary and vital in helping reduce the number of young lives devastated or lost on our roads".
We are really sorry that the card has understandably upset you. I hope you can appreciate that our objective is to reduce the number of avoidable tragedies on London's roads and we believe this campaign will be effective in achieving this.
We greatly appreciate your comments and in light of your personal situation, we have decided not to run the Valentines card scheme again.
On behalf of Tom Duckham
LSCP Project Manager.