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Cumbernauld mother calls for traffic collision transparency, from MSPs

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:13 GMT on Wednesday, 8th May, 2013.
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Image © Andrew Cowan/ Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.
Image © Andrew Cowan/ Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.

ONE Cumbernauld mother, whose son was tragically killed in a traffic collision has addressed MSPs at a parliamentary committee; calling for legislation to make more detail and information available to the families of victims.

Margaret Dekker, of Cumbernauld, appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee on behalf of ‘Scotland's Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers’, in an attempt to reaffirm the campaign’s call for legislation to ensure it is a requirement that  all details are available.

Addressing the committee, Mrs Dekker told MSPs that where families wanted or sought details, families should be given what they request.

Talking to the Glasgow Evening Times, after the committee, Mrs Dekker said: "We want it written into legislation. Not every family will want it but if they wish so, they should have it."

Mrs Dekker's campaign follows the loss of her son, Steven, in 1998, who was killed when his car was involved in a collision with a van driven the wrong way on a motorway slip road. Steven was 24 when he was killed.

Mrs Dekker added: "The police and the Crown Office seemed to recognise the need to be more active. It should be for families to decide if they want the information about the crash and not be dictated to.

"Other countries have a multi- disciplinary team working with the police and we think it would help towards the Scottish Government's road safety strategy to reduce road fatalities."

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The Cumbernauld mother has backed a report by Dundee University which has called for an independent body, to work together with the police in fatal road accidents, who, according to the report, would be responsible for releasing any sought after information.

Superintendent Iain Murray, head of Road Policing, Police Scotland, Stephen McGowan, deputy director of Serious Casework, and David Green, head of Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service also gave evidence to the committee, yesterday (Tuesday, May 7th, 2013)

In written evidence to the committee, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said they “recognise” that relatives are “entitled” to information, but added that the exception remains with “exceptional circumstances”.

The COPFS’s written evidence stated: "We recognise that nearest bereaved relatives are entitled to the information about fatal road traffic collisions except where exceptional circumstances exist (such as potential for criminal charges involving such a relative relating to the fatality), and is committed to ensuring that such information is provided in an appropriate and timely manner.

"Following publication of the report, the head and deputy head of the SFIU and an official from Policy Division met with representatives from SCID to reassure them about our policies and practices and to provide a point of contact should difficulties be encountered in obtaining information.

"COPFS have carefully considered the terms of the report and will continue to monitor available guidance to ensure that it remains robust, that it is correctly and consistently applied and strengthened where necessary."

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