"You'll never know what it's like to lose a child until you lose a child": Transport bosses launch hard-hitting road safety campaign

By Olivia Devereux-Evans

Transport chiefs have launched a new road safety campaign with bereaved parents Dee and Dean Wilson at the helm, who lost son Matt to a car crash in 2011.

Matt was living and working as a chef at the Swan Hotel in Tarporley, Cheshire.

He crashed his car into a tree on the A51 near Nantwich on October 8, 2011 and was killed instantly, aged just 21.

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His bereaved parents are now the faces of Transport for Greater Manchester's (TfGM) new campaign to encourage others to drive safely and take driving seriously.

Dean and Dee are telling their story in an effort to convince other drivers to change their ways and are joined in the campaign by a firefighter and a family liaison officer.

Dee said: “You’ll never know what it is like to lose a child until you lose a child.

“When you turn that key, you are in charge of something capable of taking a life. Not only your own as the driver, but other people who may be walking or other drivers too.

“People say it is one of the worst things that can happen to a person so how awful would it be to know that you caused that kind of pain to somebody.

“You shouldn’t be texting on your phone or doing any of those silly things. Please take driving as a serious thing to do as the consequences are huge.”

Dean Wilson features in the campaign after his son died in a car crash in 2011 (Manchester Evening News)

The new campaign comes after 681 people on average were killed or seriously injured on Greater Manchester's roads over the last five years.

Last year, 67 people were killed - the highest number of deaths from car crashes in Greater Manchester since 2016.

The Safer Roads Partnership is calling on people to think about how they are going to drive and the journeys they make before they start driving, as part of the 'It's Time' campaign.

Data from TfGM has shown that speeding over the limit kills or seriously injures 21 per cent of people involved in crashes in Greater Manchester.

Other data has shown that up to 40 percent of car journeys in Greater Manchester have been recorded to be over the speed limit.

Matthew Wilson died following a crash in Cheshire (Family hand out/Cheshire Live)

A series of videos in the campaign show how speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol have serious consequences.

This is shown by telling the stories of those affected by car crashes.

The campaign also features a reconstruction based on a real car crash where a young mother is killed because a young man is seen speeding while on his phone.

Of the crashes in Greater Manchester that are reported, 58 per cent involve a driver between the age of 17 and 35.

And 80 per cent of all fatal crashes involve a male driver.

TfGM says research suggests that young men do not think serious consequences are likely for driving and they will just get a speeding ticket.

The aim of the campaign is to show the seriousness of speeding and to change behaviours.

PC John Durham, Family Liaison Officer at Greater Manchester Police, said: “The dangerous things you do when driving, whether that is driving at speed or with alcohol and drugs, it all adds to the chances of something going wrong.

“You never ever get used to the reaction of telling somebody that their loved one is dead.

"You do not want to be the subject of one of these stories.”

Scott Barry-Godsell, Firefighter at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, said: “No drink for the road is what we say.

"The smallest amount of alcohol can have a massive impact on the decisions you make, a split-second decision can have a lifetime of consequences.”

Scot Barry-Godsell (Manchester Evening News)

Find out more about the campaign here.

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