Taunton M5 crash victims' daughter calls on David Cameron for new laws

Somerset County Gazette: Tonia White. Tonia White.

THE daughter of a couple killed in one of the UK’s worst ever motorway crashes is calling on the Prime Minister to bring in tougher laws governing public firework displays.

Tonia White is collecting support on an on-line petition to ensure there is never a repeat of the multi-vehicle pile-up on the M5 at Taunton that claimed seven lives and left 51 people injured - click on the related link on this story..

Police looked into whether smoke from a fireworks show at nearby Taunton Rugby Club on November 4, 2011 could have drifted onto the motorway, reducing visibility.

But a court case against the organiser, Geoffrey Counsell, was thrown out by the judge in December.

Among Mrs White’s demands are.

*All public and private fireworks displays to be licensed, with stringent checks on companies running events, and registered with the local council and emergency services.

*Organising companies should be accountable for all spectators and members of the public in the vicinity of the display.

*There must be a clearly defined minimum distance from roads, motorways and major routes.

*There should be at least three operatives, one with no less than six years’ experience.

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*All operatives ought to have certified explosives training, with training renewed biannually.

Mrs White will call on David Cameron to implement her suggestions “at the earliest opportunity”.

She said: “It’s incredible how lax the law is.

“You don’t even need a licence to hold a fireworks display – at the end of the day they’re explosives.

“It isn’t acceptable to hold a big fireworks display in a field right next door to a motorway.”

Mrs White said the tragedy in which her parents Tony and Pamela Adams died after visiting their family in Taunton will stay with her for the rest of her life.

She added: “It’s never going to be over.

“And we’ve got to go through it all again when the inquests come up (at the end of March).”

Comments (7)

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7:18am Thu 6 Feb 14

FreeSpeech? says...

8000m or 8km is a ludicrous minimum distance from a road for a firework display, how would access be gained to the event?
8000m or 8km is a ludicrous minimum distance from a road for a firework display, how would access be gained to the event? FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 8

7:35am Thu 6 Feb 14

TauntonBloke29 says...

Very sorry for your loss. Your demands are not reasonable although i know why you feel so strongly. As far as i was aware, and according to court details, the m5 guy is licenced and did approach the council for sign off. I still to this very day do not believe that was the only cause. This has been confirmed to me yet again a few weeks ago when i went down the m5 to hit dense patchy fog/mist. It happens 3 or 4 times a year along there; we know the geographical reasons why. Having gone out that terrible night n roads parallel to the m5 searching for my inlaws, the conditions were awful hours after the accident. The M5 between Weston and Exeter is dangerous, look at how many accidents and road closures there have been in the last 12 months alone. I would encourage you to rather than seek a single person or event to blame to look at the bigger picture of road safety and set up a petition for the Highways agency to put up large fog warning signs, speed enforcement cameras (average speed cameras coming in within next 12 months on motorways i have been told), driver awareness messages on that stretch and ask that the motorway is closed during times of increased dog and mist at night (rare). I don't think you will be able to do anything about people driving badly. Too close to each other, lorries tail gating or people pulling out from the slip lane infront of cars.
Very sorry for your loss. Your demands are not reasonable although i know why you feel so strongly. As far as i was aware, and according to court details, the m5 guy is licenced and did approach the council for sign off. I still to this very day do not believe that was the only cause. This has been confirmed to me yet again a few weeks ago when i went down the m5 to hit dense patchy fog/mist. It happens 3 or 4 times a year along there; we know the geographical reasons why. Having gone out that terrible night n roads parallel to the m5 searching for my inlaws, the conditions were awful hours after the accident. The M5 between Weston and Exeter is dangerous, look at how many accidents and road closures there have been in the last 12 months alone. I would encourage you to rather than seek a single person or event to blame to look at the bigger picture of road safety and set up a petition for the Highways agency to put up large fog warning signs, speed enforcement cameras (average speed cameras coming in within next 12 months on motorways i have been told), driver awareness messages on that stretch and ask that the motorway is closed during times of increased dog and mist at night (rare). I don't think you will be able to do anything about people driving badly. Too close to each other, lorries tail gating or people pulling out from the slip lane infront of cars. TauntonBloke29
  • Score: 40

7:36am Thu 6 Feb 14

TauntonBloke29 says...

Fog, not dog! Sorry, phone is silly.
Fog, not dog! Sorry, phone is silly. TauntonBloke29
  • Score: 8

8:47am Thu 6 Feb 14

Mi_Coc says...

I am afraid it was fog and the firework issue was just a witch hunt as people wanted someone to blame.

Cars are only dangerous when people drive them!
I am afraid it was fog and the firework issue was just a witch hunt as people wanted someone to blame. Cars are only dangerous when people drive them! Mi_Coc
  • Score: 16

2:17pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Le-anne says...

Heard enough now. The display was not to blame!
Heard enough now. The display was not to blame! Le-anne
  • Score: 11

2:51pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Useacarpark.com says...

Bore off!
Bore off! Useacarpark.com
  • Score: 1

12:16am Sun 9 Feb 14

boliston says...

The way people drive on motorways it's a miracle this type of accident is so rare. It basically comes down to the fact that people are unable to adjust their driving to match the road condidtions.
The way people drive on motorways it's a miracle this type of accident is so rare. It basically comes down to the fact that people are unable to adjust their driving to match the road condidtions. boliston
  • Score: 3

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