Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009
Anatomy of a crash



Here is a selection of reader responses to our story about Anji Archer whose partner, Shaun Henderson, was killed in a road crash.

I had a similar experience when my wife was killed in a car accident on the school run. My daughter did survive after a time in hospital over Christmas the other driver got three points and a £300 fine. There is no justice just memories and consequences.
Michael, Malvern

ANATOMY OF A CRASH
This is an account of a single fatal road crash. Each chapter follows a stage of the incident.

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It is easy to dismiss casualties on the road as just another statistic, when you read of the consequences of any accident it puts it into perspective - one person's selfish and irresponsible actions have such a devastating affect on others.
Dave Farren, Milton Keynes

This story should be shown to all learner drivers before they take their theory test to warn them that it is against the law (and a stupid thing to do) to drink and drive.
Ann Morris, Wareham, England

My sympathy is with Anji. Having lost two relatives in separate road accidents this story has significance. Details become etched in the mind.
D Newsam, Christ Church, Barbados

When I go out on my motorcycle I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I will not pull out in front of another vehicle. Why? The penalty is too high; either broken bones or death. For a car driver the result is, more often than not, just a damaged vehicle. Quite simply, the penalty for a car driver is not high enough. A minimum of 10 years in prison and a hefty fine should do it. As for drinking - throw the key away.
Michael Rigby, Ruislip, Middlesex

When I was a teenager in London my dad ran a garage and would sometimes take me along to help pull in crashed cars. The damage done in city streets with a 30mph limit was incredible, but I'll never forget how many cars, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, smelled of alcohol. It wasn't unusual to find empty bottles or cans in the passenger compartment. As a result I never drink and drive. Maybe every young person should see the carnage I saw.
Gary Blakeley, Toronto, Canada

I lost my Dad when I was six. That was a long time ago. But I still miss him. This brought it all back. It's an unfair world.
Eric Mackereth, Shrewsbury

I work in the motor insurance claims industry and we are seeing an increase in accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. The issue I have and many others share, is that our Criminal Justice system does not consider death by dangerous driving to warrant a high sentence. I personally believe that if a driver gets behind the wheel of a car while under the influence and has an accident, it should be treated the same as murder or at the very least manslaughter, at least then judges will have higher sentencing powers.
Mark, Sussex

I lost my brother to a car accident. He, and five others involved in a two-car collision lost their lives one night in 1990. The accident was caused by a drunk driver. However, he got away with his crimes, pleading the right to silence. This story brought back those memories of having the news broken, and visiting my brother after the accident... the white room. Branded in my memory forever. My heart went out to this woman, who lost a partner, and father to her children. There are simply no words to make something like this any easier.
Simon, Swansea

I drive to work on the A60 between Arnold and Newstead Abbey. Even though this is a 50 mile an hour limit every day, without exception, I see morons tailgating and overtaking dangerously close to other cars. They do not seem to have an inkling or seemingly care about the carnage and misery they could cause. I have suffered many incidents of abusive language, rude hand signals and the rest when they have roared past me, only to catch up with them at the next set of traffic lights. I hope there will be speed cameras placed on the stretch of road at some point as the many flowers by the roadside and the lenient sentencing do not serve as a deterrent. My deepest and heartfelt sympathies to anyone unlucky enough to cross the paths of those who should not be allowed to own a metal missile.
Sue Todd, Nottingham

Drivers and passengers often fail to realise that when a vehicle comes to a sudden stop, all the objects inside continue to travel forward at its original speed. We tend to feel secure in a car, but human muscles are not strong enough to resist a sudden forward motion if it hits a solid object at 30mph. Even a hardback atlas or plastic toy flying off the back shelf at 30 suddenly becomes dangerous. It's worse on a bike if the wheels lock, the bike and rider just carry on at the original speed, yet many riders think it's cool to wear light clothing in the summer. We all learn Newton's laws at school, but we tend to assume they don't apply to us!
Steve, London, UK

Until something like this affects people personally it is often ignored. An incident like this is not an accident, it is foreseeable, the term accident should be replaced by collision or incident. My wife received massive brain injuries in a drink drive accident and 2 decades on is affected by it every day. Sadly the young chap responsible died, I say sadly because by all accounts he was not the typical bad boy image of a drink driver and would have gone on to make a contribution to society; he choose to do something immensely stupid and was killed. His family were devastated. We accept speed traps, why not random checks for driver impairment? Case studies such as this need to be part of the driving test, more education, more enforcement. Avoidable deaths and injuries are devastating they really are.
Jerry S, , Southampton Hampshire



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