The Student Road Safety Awards have been developed by Paul Kerr, whose son Jon-Paul was aged 17 when he was killed in a traffic accident involving an 18-year-old driver, who had passed his test only a fortnight earlier.
Mr Kerr was determined his son’s death would not be in vain and after years of campaigning and lobbying has won Parliamentary backing for the launch of the inaugural Student Road Safety Awards, supported by the car company Peugeot and RoSPA.
The nationwide scheme has been developed to encourage students aged 11-18 years to create unique projects that will help raise awareness of road safety in a suitable way for their age group.
The winning projects will also be submitted to the DfT as a potential road safety campaign.
Speaking at the launch, Stephen Hammond said: “This is a very exciting and hugely important road safety initiative.
“Young people are our future drivers and I believe that empowering them with a sense of responsibility from an early age will help drive down fatalities and serious injuries.
“I am confident that this scheme has the potential to be a great success and I wish all who enter it the best of luck. I would also like to pay a special thanks to Paul Kerr, who has campaigned tirelessly to make this happen.
Mr Kerr, from Warwick, said: “There were over 25,000 people killed or seriously injured on UK roads last year, the first annual increase since 1994. I hope and pray this initiative will help to bring this unacceptable figure down.
“It has been a long road to get to this point but I am very proud and grateful to have won backing from the DfT, RoSPA and Peugeot."
Tim Zimmerman, MD of Peugeot UK, added: “When Paul came to us looking for support we knew in an instant that we had to get involved. This is an inspirational initiative that will help to educate and potentially save lives and reduce serious injuries on our roads. Peugeot is proud to sponsor this worthwhile and important venture.”