Monday 29 May 2017

Mother of boy (12) killed in crash joins seat belt awareness campaign

Amar Atwal, 12, who was killed in an accident while not wearing a seat belt Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Amar Atwal, 12, who was killed in an accident while not wearing a seat belt Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire

Matthew Cooper

A mother whose 12-year-old son was killed in an accident while not wearing a seat belt is to join traffic police at a roadside checkpoint as part of a week-long awareness campaign.

Sukhi Atwal will speak to drivers and passengers to help West Midlands Police hammer home the potentially tragic consequences of failing to use a seat belt.

CCTV still issued by West Midlands Police of the accident Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire
CCTV still issued by West Midlands Police of the accident Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire

Mrs Atwal's son Amar was a rear seat passenger in a relative's Mitsubishi Outlander when he was killed in May 2015.

The driver of a taxi which overshot a junction in West Bromwich, ploughing into the side of the Mitsubishi, was jailed for six years for causing death by dangerous driving.

Mrs Atwal - whose son suffered head injuries after being thrown from the Mitsubishi - is also visiting schools during an international seat belt campaign running until Friday.

She is being joined by West Midlands Police special constable Clive Broadhurst, who campaigns on seat belt safety by visiting schools across the region.

Amar Atwal, 12, with his mother Sukhi Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Amar Atwal, 12, with his mother Sukhi Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire

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 seat belt 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."

Mr Broadhurst, who has produced an educational video featuring images of Amar for use in schools, praised the courage of Mrs Atwal in trying to prevent further deaths.

The officer said: "It has been the law for more than 30 years to wear a seat belt 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 seat belt can make a difference."

In two similar week-long campaigns across the UK last year more than 7,600 offences were reported.

Research has shown wearing a seat belt reduces the chances of being killed in a car crash by 50pc.

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