THE mother of a Chard teenager who died following a car crash in Ilminster has said her son could still be here today if he had attended a course which has just been launched by police.
Motocross fanatic and former Holyrood Academy student Liam Taylor, 19, died in 2012 after a car crash in Station Road, Ilminster in which he was not wearing a seatbelt.
His mum Gail has thrown her weight behind the police scheme to offer free training to young drivers and said the course could have saved her son’s life.
She added: “All the kids think it will not happen to them – and even Luke thought it would not happen to him.
Talking about safety belts is as important as speeding – we would tell him every day to wear a seatbelt and if he had, he would have walked away from the crash.
I agree with it [the course] but they ought to be pushing people to wear safety belts because if Liam had been wearing one he would still be here today.”
Nine people a week were killed or seriously injured on Avon and Somerset’s roads last year and police have launched the Road Smart session in the hope of attracting young motorists, as a third of the 452 victims were under 25.
Participants will learn about potential hazards on the course, being held at venues across the force area.
Supt Ian Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to benefit from a free course that could be a life-saving opportunity.
Studies show that a significant proportion of collisions are caused by human error and we want to try to help reduce this number.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Too often I hear of tragic incidents involving young drivers and am very supportive of initiatives to help prevent this. Learning to drive can be an exciting time for a young person which brings about independence.
However, it should not be underestimated that driving, at any age, is a huge responsibility.”
Liam Taylor was thrown from the front passenger seat of a Peugeot 206 driven by his friend, Benjamin Aston, 22, of Loveridge Lane, Tatworth.
Aston pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving on February 11 after initially denying the charge in November at Taunton Crown Court.
He was handed a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years, banned from driving for five years and was ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and pay £1,600 costs.
Courses run from the end of April for the next 12 months, with one version for under-24s and another for everyone else.
For further details visit www.roadsmart.org n THE family has raised £2,000 from car stickers and merchandise with Liam’s motocross number #341 which they are giving to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.