THE BROKEN-HEARTED family of a tragic crash victim today backed a campaign urging people to wear seatbelts.
Young mother Christine Harrison, 28, died in March last year after the car she was travelling in crashed into trees after hitting standing water and leaving the road.
The incident, which happened on the A66 Bridge Road, near Darlington, left four other people – including uninsured and unlicensed driver Daniel Podmore – injured but Miss Harrison, from Darlington, was the only one to lose her life.
An inquest revealed she had been the only passenger not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
Today – almost a year since her death on March 9, 2013 – her family spoke out in support of Buckle Up, a seatbelt safety campaign launched by Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police.
Her mother Francine urged travellers to belt up, saying doing so could have saved her treasured daughter’s life.
She said: “If Christine had buckled up, she might still have been here today.
“This year has been a total nightmare, we are still living as though it’s the day it all happened and I just wish she had worn her seatbelt.
“She should have known better and I totally agree with this campaign. Something needs to be done to make sure that people are more aware of what can happen to those who don’t wear seatbelts.
“Wearing it could have made a difference – she might still have been hurt but it might not have led to her death.
“The law should be tougher with stiffer fines.”
She added: “I always make sure the grandkids are strapped in properly and I tell them ‘Look at what happened to Aunty Christine, she could still be here if she’d worn her belt’.
“Her daughter, Shaney-Leigh, buckles up every time. This has changed her life completely.”
Buckle Up aims to raise awareness of the importance of wearing seatbelts after research revealed those aged between 17 and 34 are least likely to wear seatbelts, despite being the most likely age group to be involved in an accident.
As part of the campaign, officers will visit colleges throughout the region to educate people about the issue.
Temporary Chief Inspector Ed Turner, Head of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “We cannot stress how important it is to wear a seatbelt, it could be that single decision to buckle up that saves your life in a serious collision.”