ROAD safety is always an emotive issue, especially during the summer holidays when children like to spend as much time as possible out of doors.
As a mother, I want my teenage children to have the freedom to meet up with their friends and start to get their independence.
However, having a 17 year-old who has just passed her driving test I am sharing the experience of many parents of listening anxiously for her safe return.
At the same time, I worry about the speeding traffic on our roads and that momentary loss of concentration, either from drivers or from pedestrians that can change peoples lives so devastatingly.
All too often we read about cases where a convicted driver has been jailed for injuring a pedestrian or causing an accident, then on appeal the sentence is reduced. At the moment, there is a heart-wrenching case in nearby Sutton Coldfield where a young child has suffered permanent disability as a result of a speeding driver. My colleague, Andrew Mitchell has been campaigning for justice for that child.
We now learn that the driver will not be serving his full term, yet the child and family have to live with the driver's actions for the rest of their lives.
So, what can we do locally? I am quite frequently lobbied for traffic calming measures to be implemented, even though this is really a council matter. But, in some instances, once the calming measures have been put in place, I get complaints about the severity of the speed bumps and potential damage to cars.
There is an excellent charity, Brake, which campaigns for safer roads and works at the grass root level. It helps to make road safety fun for children and at the same time help them to understand the dangers of roads. The charity also provides lots of useful information about safer cycling and safer driving.
But, if you a male between the age of 17 and 24, be warned; your chance of being a road fatality is at least six times that of anyone else.
I suggest everyone takes at look at Brake's website at www.brake. org.uk. Like me, you will see some shocking statistics, but also a lot of practical advice on how to avoid being a statistic.