Freddie Hussey was killed in January 2014 as he and his mother walked home along Parson Street after dropping off Freddie’s older brother at school. A two tonne trailer towed by a Land Rover careered across the pavement, fatally crushing Freddie.
Since becoming Bristol South MP, Karin Smyth has been supporting parents Scott and Donna Hussey’s campaign for improved trailer safety as they seek to ensure some good comes from the tragedy. Karin Smyth called a special Parliamentary debate earlier in the year and arranged a face-to-face meeting between herself, Mr and Mrs Hussey and Transport Minister Andrew Jones last month.
Following these events, the Minister has confirmed in writing a number of steps being taken following the Labour MP’s work in Parliament, and the family’s campaigning:
• Driver and Vehicle Safety Agency (DVSA) guidance has just been re-written to heighten awareness of trailer roadworthiness, following Freddie’s case. It has been issued online and sent to businesses and stakeholders nationwide that are involved in the use of trailers
• A parallel awareness campaign will run through the summer, with social media and newsletter promotion
• A new video is being developed by DVSA demonstrating how to carry out safety checks on trailers, including how to ensure proper coupling
• The Minister will be raising the issues surrounding driver sentencing (a key concern of Mr and Mrs Hussey) with his Ministry of Justice ministerial colleagues, suggesting they consider roadworthiness & secure fitting of trailers be included in an imminent review of driver sentencing.
Karin Smyth said: “Freddie’s case was a tragedy of untold magnitude, but together we have been resolute in our wish that some good comes of it. Following the family’s work in the community, and my work in Parliament, we are making good progress in bringing about change that can help improve safety on our roads.
“My aim was, and remains, bringing the Hussey family’s experiences to the attention of government and through my debate and meetings with the Minister, I know this is being taken very seriously indeed. This is an issue well beyond party politics, and it’s right to give credit to the Minister who really has engaged with the family.
“These are significant concessions by the government which are primarily a tribute to the work of Scott and Donna Hussey to ensure some good might come from their son’s tragic death. The local community which has supported them through incredibly difficult times also deserves great credit.
“Looking ahead we need to reflect on what has been achieved so far, and work out next steps. I will be keeping on top of this issue, as we can be in no doubt that there are more accidents waiting to happen if the right changes aren’t made,” she added.
Freddie’s parents, Donna and Scott Hussey, said: “We are not celebrating these changes, but we are really pleased because they represent major progress on a vital safety concern that is far more widespread than has previously been recognised at government level. We know that these new measures have only come about because of the campaigning that has been well supported by our community and our local MP.”