THE parents of a teenager killed in a horrific car accident have taken their road safety campaign to the corridors of power.
The parents of Eleanor McGrath, 14, who was killed when a car hit her and a group of 13 friends in Thorpe Bay in 2009, visited Whitehall to call for graduated driving licences to be introduced in the UK.
James Duddridge, Rochford and Southend East MP, who accompanied the couple to the Department for Transport, made an impassioned plea for the licence system, which would see new drivers forced to display a green P-plate for three years, in Parliament last week.
The Conservative, who lives a few hundred yards from the crash site in Tyrone Road, said: “When people suffer such tragedies, they sometimes react by expecting absolutely everything to be done, but Eleanor’s parents have been very responsible.
“Specifically, they believe in the graduated driving licence, that a compulsory P-plate should be displayed for three years after someone passes their test, signalling a probation period for new drivers.”
Mr Duddridge and the McGraths presented a green P-plate, which alerts other motorists to a newly-qualified driver in a similar way to an L-plate warns of a learner, to Robert Goodwill, Under- Secretary of State for Transport, last month.
Mr Duddridge added: “People who have just passed their driving test can feel on top of the world, invincible, and it is a little less macho to have a big P on the back of their one-litre banger or on a new car.
“I hope that a P-plate might change attitudes.”
In a joint statement to the Echo, the McGraths said: “We are extremely grateful to James Duddridge for the support he has given us, for enabling us to meet with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Transport and for articulating our proposals in Parliament.”
Jazzily Bass, 26, was told to prepare for the worst after her brother, Murray Bass, was involved in a crash in 2009 aged 21. He came out of his coma, but now needs 24-hour care.
She says any idea is worth trying, but thinks introducing P-plates won’t have much of an impact on drivers.
Jazzily, from Wickford, said: “I think instead of P-plates, new drivers should have restrictions on the speed and power of the car they are allowed to buy.
“New drivers lack experience and don’t know how to control faster cars.
“My brother’s accident was with a boy racer car early in the morning. If the driver had had a P-plate on, it wouldn’t have made any difference.”