Fatal collision video wins communications award

12.00 | 22 December 2014 | | 4 comments

A motorcycle video that has attracted more than 15 million YouTube hits across the globe has been named as the recipient of the 2014 MIPAA* Chairman’s award.

The award was presented jointly to Norfolk Constabulary, Suffolk Constabulary and Mrs Brenda Holmes for releasing a video which showed the moment Brenda Holmes’ son, David, was killed while riding his motorcycle.

David Holmes was killed on the A47 at Honingham in June 2013. A three-minute video produced by Norfolk police was released on 4 September and within 24 hours had received more than one million views. The film shows the moment 38-year-old David’s bike collided with a car that pulled out in front of him, and an interview with his mother, Brenda.

Mike Orford, MIPAA chairman, said: “The courage of Brenda Holmes, supported by Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, in releasing a harrowing video that included the shocking moment when her son, David, was killed on his beloved motorcycle, has undoubtedly saved lives, and seen some good come from this terrible accident.

“This is the first time we have recognised road safety communications with the MIPAA Chairman’s Award, as we wanted to acknowledge the global impact of the footage captured by the headcam fitted to David’s motorcycle helmet.

“The video made an outstanding contribution to road safety by getting riders and drivers to think about their actions, as well as attracting media and online coverage across the world and creating debate about the consequences of one moment of inattention.”

The award was presented to Mrs Holmes, chief inspector Chris Spinks, head of Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, and Laura Bagshaw, communications officer, Norfolk Constabulary at the annual MIPAA Christmas lunch in London on 15 December.

Brenda Holmes said: “Although we know the video been widely viewed we cannot measure how successful it has been in terms of casualty reduction and for me this award shows that it has been of some value.”

Chief inspector Chris Spinks said: “I remain astonished by the number of views the video has received and would like to express my gratitude to Brenda for being involved.

“This campaign wouldn’t have been possible without the support of David’s family and from the outset Brenda showed great strength and determination in her belief that the release of this footage would make a difference.

“We will never know how many lives have been saved but I’m convinced that we have exceeded Brenda’s wish in that one person would have got home safely, who might not have before.”

*MPIAA (Motor Industry Public Affairs Association)
With more than 400 individual members, MIPAA is the world’s largest network of professional motor industry communicators representing major automotive brands, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, consultancies and other institutions connected with the sector, in the UK and overseas.



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    This is heart stopping footage and the bravery of his mum is humbling. Without wishing to sound defeatist, the human flaw resulting in ‘inattentional blindness’ will result in many more of these until every road user is made aware of this design failing which can affect even ‘good drivers’ who might look but not actually see. The high speed he was travelling at must also take a large proportion of the responsibility for this tragedy.

    If the footage helps make riders/drivers ‘Think’ more then hopefully his precious life will not have been in vain.

    A well deserved award for the police and his family for taking the difficult decision to release it.

    Jan James CEO Good Egg Safety
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    Has anyone paused to wonder what this rider’s motive was in filming himself riding in this manner in the first place? I suspect the last thing he expected it to be used for was road safety education.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Mrs Holmes showed great fortitude in allowing this video to be released, so the very least we can do as an industry is to learn from it.

    I followed the video as it was shared around the world mainly because the comments it attracted were quite revealing. In the main the comments centred on what the poor rider and driver should have done, could have done and the obvious mistakes they made rather than looking at it from their point of view. Far too many people were quick to find fault and apportion blame when as far as these two people were concerned everything was going spectacularly right, but only up to the point they realised it wasn’t.

    Poor David’s fate was not sealed by that ultimate manoeuvre, but by a great many pre-existing factors both proximal and distal within the system that combined to cause that manoeuvre to happen in the first place. Our job as an industry is to learn what those factors are and how they occasionally combine rather than just noting the various errors that everybody made. These errors are symptoms of deeper trouble and we need to know a lot more about these deeper problems if we want to reduce the number of accidents and incidents that occur on our roads.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    I feel sorry that we have to give honour to such a sad happening but also feel that Brenda Holmes did the right thing. She does deserves this accolade for her strength for allowing its publication in the hope that it may change others attitudes and that it was not just watched by those of a morbid disposition who just wanted to see the outcome.

    To my mind there were two instances of a momentary lack of concentration or inattention. Let’s not forget the one by the car driver who commenced to turn right into the oncoming path of David whose fate was sealed by that manoeuvre.

    Bob Craven Lancs…. Space is Safe Campaigner…
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