Denbighshire councillors back calls for new drivers to have black boxes fitted after teenager dies in crash
Denbighshire councillors have thrown their weight behind a campaign to force young drivers to have a ‘black box’ fitted in their car, after a councillor’s impassioned plea.
The idea was the brainchild of Joe Hinchcliffe from Llandyrnog, whose friend Olivia Alkir was killed after an horrific crash on the B5105 between Ruthin and Clawddnewydd last year.
Olivia, 17, was pronounced dead after a head-on smash between a Fiesta she was a back seat passenger in and a Mercedes.
Four other people, including two teenage girls travelling in the same car and two people in the Mercedes, were seriously injured.
Edward Ryan Bell, who was 17 at the time, had been racing against his friend Thomas Henry Quick.
Bell had only passed his test the day before and was due to have a black box fitted to his car the following day.
In Denbighshire’s full council meeting Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts convinced members to unanimously back the motion to support the Parliamentary petition, which has around 8,500 signatures so far.
It calls for young, first-year drivers to have a black box fitted, which would track speed, movements and driving habits of newly qualified road users.
It also called for them to take an experienced driver as a passenger in all journeys for the first year.
The petition, submitted by Olivia’s best friend Mr Hinchcliffe, calls on the proposals to become law.
Cllr Hilditch-Roberts told councillors: “Last year we in Denbighshire lost Olivia Alkir who was an employee of Denbighshire council – and her mum worked for Denbighshire.
“Olivia was involved in a high speed accident which involved young drivers being reckless.”
He added: “You can buy a five-day course and take a test and you’ve passed, so I think we need to look at this problem in different ways.
“We not only want Denbighshire to be safer for drivers but it’s a national issue we all want to address.”
Cllr Hilditch-Roberts revealed Australian laws stopped young, new drivers from driving at night, they had to display a green “P” sticker on their cars and a black box had to be fitted in vehicles.
He said he had seen recent statistics where there had been 17 deaths from Covid and 16 deaths from road accidents – but during the pandemic deaths on the road had dramatically reduced.
He spoke of how not just Olivia’s family had to come to terms with what had happened but so did those who were injured and the men jailed for causing the fatal crash.
He added: “I hope with all my heart that all other authorities in Wales will get behind this petition.
“Olivia has lost the opportunity to leave this legacy herself.
“Olivia was an intelligent and beautiful young woman – head girl at Ysgol Bryn Hyfryd – she had her whole life ahead of her.
“What I am asking, in line with Judge Niclas Parry’s ruling, that the council supports this petition logged on the Parliamentary petitions website.
Rhyl Cllr Brian Jones, who supported the motion, said: “On that tragic evening I was with my daughter and she got a text from one of the people in those cars asking what to do – so I will never forget that evening.
“Down the line maybe we can look at other avenues that will contribute to reducing the deaths of young drivers on the road.”
By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter
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