Father's crusade pays off as car giant to fit safety device
THE father of a baby run over and killed after another child turned the ignition key on the family car has helped persuade manufacturers to fit a safety device to avert similar tragedies, The Scotsman has learned.
The move came after Iain Goodwill, one, died in the driveway of his home at Pettyvaich, near Kiltarlity in Inverness-shire, two years ago.
The boy was trapped under a Saab 9-5 after another toddler turned the ignition key, taken from the house, causing the car to jump backwards because it was parked in reverse gear.
Carmakers have agreed to a feature on some new models which would prevent the engine being started until the brake or clutch pedal has been pressed.
The move comes after a campaign by Dr Mark Goodwill, Iain's father, which involved lobbying ministers and MPs.
Dr Goodwill and his wife Helen have set up a trust in Iain's name that is funding a survey by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) to establish the extent of driveway accidents.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has told Dr Goodwill that car manufacturers' associations in Europe and Japan said their members would introduce safety systems on some models.
Steve Sopp, a senior DfT safety official, said: "The associations have agreed to introduce them on new types of cars fitted with automatic transmissions and to cars with manual transmissions that are started using a push button. While this may take some time to propagate to the vehicle fleet, we see this as a positive step by the vehicle manufacturers.
"I hope you agree progress is being made in securing a voluntary agreement with the manufacturers to fit a secondary system in a wide range of vehicles."
Dr Goodwill, the production director of an animal feed company, said: "Following the tragic death of our youngest son, we had to do everything we could to prevent a similar accident devastating another family.
"We are delighted people are responding to this tragic accident and making changes so it does not happen again. Some manufacturers have already introduced this, but we want to get it across all of them."
Danny Alexander, the Inverness MP, who arranged a meeting with ministers, said: "Mark has had enormous influence. What happened to his son was a tragedy, but the way it has motivated him to campaign to improve things for others is fantastic. It is important to have this safety feature as standard across all new cars, and Mark's efforts have been a huge push towards that."
Rospa said at least eight youngsters were killed last year after being struck by vehicles in driveways or in the grounds of their home. It said the total was more than in recent years, and it is launching the survey because of the lack of official figures.
Lindsey Simkins, Rospa's road safety research and evaluation officer, said: "Our survey will enable us to understand how these types of incidents happen and we will use the information to develop the very best advice to help parents and carers keep young children safe."
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