Mum of teen who died in Cumbria crash wants driving licence law change

Sharron Huddleston’s daughter Caitlin died in a collision in 2017 on the A595 in Bootle after her vehicle collided with an oncoming van.

She died alongside friend Skye Mitchell, who was driving.

Mrs Huddleston has been campaigning for a phased licensing system for novice drivers, which she says could reduce the number of road deaths among young people.  

Whitehaven News: Caitlin and her mother SharronCaitlin and her mother Sharron (Image: Submitted)

With the support of others, she has formed an action group – Forget-me-not Families Uniting – to bring together other bereaved families who have experienced the loss of a young family member in a road crash and are supporting the introduction of graduated driving licences in the UK.

She said: “Since Caitlin’s death I have discovered that the leading cause of death in the age group of 17-24-year-olds is road traffic collisions. A fact I didn’t know beforehand.

“I now know that many families every year are having to bury their adolescent children through an outdated driving licence system that we have in the UK.”

She said evidence had been presented to the Government that young deaths would be ‘reduced significantly’ by a graduate driving licence. 

Mrs Huddleston has teamed up with RoadPeace to appeal for other families to get in touch and join other bereaved families in the campaign.

The progressive licensing system for drivers under 25 would see curbs on carrying passengers 25 and under for the first year, driving at night between midnight and 6am and mandatory hazard perception training, among other restrictions.

Whitehaven News: Skye MitchellSkye Mitchell (Image: Newsquest)

A petition calling for the new system has attracted more than 20,000 signatures

In response to the petition, the Department for Transport said there are ‘no plans to introduce tougher restrictions on new drivers’ but added that it is keeping licensing requirements ‘under review’.

“Every death on our roads is a tragedy and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety,” a DfT spokesperson said.

“We’ve commissioned research designed to help learner and newly qualified drivers improve their skills and safety, while our THINK! campaign is specifically targeted at young drivers.”