A campaign to improve trailer towing has been launched following the death of a three-year-old boy from Bristol.
Freddie Hussey suffered fatal head injuries when a two-tonne trailer towed by a Land Rover came loose, mounted a pavement and pinned him against the wall.
The campaign, launched by his parents and the DVSA, following the fatal accident in January 2014 is targeting anyone towing trailers, including horse trailers, caravans and boats.
Transport minister Andrew Jones, said: “I was deeply shocked by the death of Freddie Hussey – it is absolutely essential that drivers understand the laws regarding towing; hold the correct licence and have been properly trained. This campaign will help drivers to make sure they are towing safely and will save lives in the process.”
Freddie’s parents, Scott Hussey, 37, and wife Donna, 34, branded the sentence handed to the driver of the Land Rover, Tony Davies, “a joke.”
He admitted to causing Freddie’s death by careless driving and was handed a six-month road ban as well as being ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.
Scott and Donna said: “After the court case we were devastated and wanted to make some good out of the awful situation we found ourselves in. We made a promise to Freddie that we would fight for him and we didn’t want to lose him in vain.”
When Freddie’s parents, Scott and Donna, started gathering evidence for the case against the driver responsible for Freddie’s death they said they were shocked at the number of incidents that were occurring.
Talking about the campaign, Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, stated: “DVSA’s first priority is to protect the public and help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. It’s a driver’s responsibility to ensure equipment is fitted to their vehicle correctly and used safely. There is no excuse for not being informed. Even a short journey with an insecure or unroadworthy trailer puts lives at risk, as the death of three-year-old Freddie Hussey tragically shows.”
Representatives from National Trailer and Towing Association (NTTA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have stated there are fully behind the campaign.
The Hussey’s local MP, Karin Smyth, helped to get the campaign off the ground by calling for a debate in Parliament.
The parents of Freddie added: “At first it did feel like no one was listening to us but thanks to Karin and then meeting the transport minister, we did feel the situation was being taken more seriously. We are pleased that the campaign has been launched. Nothing can ever bring Freddie back and we will never get over what happened but if motorists can learn from this campaign and we can potentially stop this happening again then some good has come out of this.”
Bristol Crown Court discovered that the tragedy was attributed to a handbrake lever being in the wrong place, which caused the trailer to come adrift.
Further information on the essential safety checks for towing and the law, as well as the campaign, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/road-safety-campaign-urges-drivers-to-towsafe4freddie