An appeal to government to use increasing motoring fines to step up support for suffering road crash victims is being launched today by the charity Brake.
The campaign is being backed by solicitors and families who have faced the devastation of a road crash.
It comes days after the government announced plans to inject a further £50m in improving support for victims, which will be partly generated by a rise in fines collected from to law-breaking, risky drivers.
Brake is highlighting that road crash victims have been long-neglected in government funding, meaning there is a lack of comprehensive support available nationally, and many acutely suffering, vulnerable victims are left without access to the help they need.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Road crashes are sudden and violent events that leave families reeling with shock and struggling to cope with the practical and emotional consequences.
“These families desperately need help and support but often are left out in the cold. While victims of burglary are automatically offered face-to-face support funded by government, there is no such offer for bereaved and seriously injured crash victims.
“It is vital the government recognises the profound needs of road crash victims, and their right to appropriate support, given that they are suffering due to man-made, preventable and often criminal events.
“The government is planning to increase fines for law-breaking, dangerous drivers; these funds should be ploughed into developing comprehensive support that’s available to all serious crash victims, to help these families cope with the terrible circumstances they find themselves in.”
Road deaths and injuries cause horrendous suffering every day.
Each day, five UK families face the unbearable news their loved one will never come home because they have been killed in a road crash. Sixty-six more families each day must come to terms with a serious injury, many life-shattering, some causing permanent disability.
The bereaved and injured victims often experience long-term and acute emotional suffering and other serious implications such as debt, health problems and social isolation. These families desperately need support, guidance and information, but often don’t get it.
Brake supports bereaved and seriously injured crash victims through a national helpline and packs, part-funded by government.
But this remains a grossly under-funded area, with many unable to access a clear pathway of support.
Brake is an independent road safety charity. It believes road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties, the group says.