A serial killer striking late at night has killed at least ten young people this summer.
The killer – road crashes - struck most recently on the M25 after the V Festival in August, but has also taken lives in Suffolk, Yorkshire and Scotland.
This summer there has been a spate of fatal road accidents involving car occupants in their teens and early twenties, travelling on the road late at night, sometimes after attending a gig or music festival. A particular feature of these crashes has been multiple deaths of teenagers travelling together in one car, with devastating results for local communities.
Indie bands Dirty Pretty Things and Metro Riots will play a special gig in London tonight (Wednesday 13th) to draw attention to the high number of teenage road deaths in the UK and to point out that, worldwide, someone is killed in a road crash every 30 seconds.
The gig, for the Make Roads Safe campaign, was partly inspired by the deaths of three teenage girls in Suffolk in July following a concert that Dirty Pretty Things had played. Red Hot Chili Peppers, who headlined the concert, have also endorsed the campaign. Some close friends and family of the teenage crash victims will be attending the gig.
Other fatal crashes involving young drivers have included:
A crash on the M25 involving a car returning from the V Festival in August, which killed three people in their teens and early twenties;
A crash in Huddersfield on 1st September in which three teenage girls were killed and two young men in their twenties were seriously injured;
A crash in Aberdeenshire which killed a teenage driver and injured his two passengers after their car hit a tree in the early hours of August 28th
A crash in Cornwall in August which seriously injured a young driver and killed his 15 year old passenger. More than 700 people attended the girl’s funeral.
Road crashes are the number one killer of people in their teens and twenties in the UK, and second only to HIV/AIDS as a killer of young men worldwide. As the road accident in India this week involving the entourage of Conservative leader David Cameron has shown, road deaths are also a major problem in developing countries. More than eighty-five per cent of all road deaths occur in poorer countries at a cost of up to $100 billion a year. The Make Roads Safe campaign is calling for international action to tackle these road deaths, which are predicted to double by 2020.
Anthony Rossomando, guitarist, Dirty Pretty Things, said:
"We need to do more to highlight the fact that 1.2 million people are needlessly killed on the roads around the world each year. This is why Dirty Pretty Things are supporting the Make Roads Safe campaign."
Edmund King, spokesman for the Make Roads Safe campaign, said:
"The deaths of so many of our young people in such a short time should be a cause for national concern. We need to make young drivers aware of the dangers they face, particularly when driving at night, and that is why we have teamed up with Dirty Pretty Things to raise awareness about the scale of road deaths both here in the UK and across the world’.
The Make Roads Safe campaign has been established to call for G8 action to tackle road deaths in low and middle income countries. The campaign, supported by an international coalition of organisations, is calling for a €300 million Action Plan for global road safety; a minimum 10% road safety element in all road programmes funded with development money; and a UN summit to address the global road safety crisis. The campaign is coordinated by the FIA Foundation and in the UK by the RAC Foundation. The campaign is running an online petition at http://www.makeroadssafe.org
The campaign also aims to raise awareness amongst young people around the world of the global, developmental problems of road safety. This will also help to raise awareness about and acceptance of domestic road safety amongst a key high risk age group in terms of road crashes in industrialized countries: young people in their late teens and early 20's. Four hundred tickets to the Dirty Pretty Things gig have been won in a competition run by the Make Roads Safe campaign. The concert has now sold out.