Driving with Grace

The Safer Roads Foundation has been working with a group of young students in Essex to produce a documentary entitled 'Driving with Grace', which tells of the devastating impact in human terms, resulting from an accident that occurred on the evening of 6 March 2009, when Eleanor Grace McGrath, aged 14, was killed, Jack Horton, aged 16, sustained brain damage, and several other students suffered serious injuries, due to the actions of a young, thoughtless driver.

In the aftermath of this horrific crash, two of Eleanor's close friends, Emily and Lauren Smoothy, created the 'Driving with Grace' campaign, to raise awareness of how irresponsible driving can have consequences that affect many lives. In doing so, they have teamed up with Sergeant Dave Jones from Essex Police, the investigating officer, and the Safer Roads Foundation.

Through the words of Eleanor's friends, family and also the young driver of the car that killed her, the hard-hitting 'Driving with Grace' programme tells about how the accident, in which the vehicle struck a large group of teenagers innocently standing on the pavement in a residential road in Thorpe Bay, Essex, has shattered the lives of the victims, the families and the driver, who is now serving a six-year prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.

Road crashes are the most common cause of death and serious injury to young people and, in this context, the programme is primarily targeted at communicating the simple message, to 'think before you act', to teenagers who are about to learn to drive or have just passed their driving test. A great deal of time and effort has gone into the making of this programme, and the small selection of students who have previewed the documentary commented that it has really made them stop and think about the consequences, and how the driver is accountable for their actions.

As Emily Smoothy says, "driving is not just a freedom, but a responsibility" - it would be such a wasted opportunity if every young person in the country did not get to see this special programme.

In this context, the 'Driving with Grace' campaign would now like this message conveyed on a national basis to all young people who are at a stage in their lives when they are particularly vulnerable, due to their inexperience and lack of awareness of the responsibilities that come with driving a motor vehicle.

The 'Driving with Grace' campaign formally launched the new documentary programme on Friday 26 March 2010, with the Safer Roads Foundation making copies available to every secondary school Head teacher, Road Safety Officer and Head of Traffic Police in the country, with a view that it can be shown to students in years 11 to 13, and used in other road safety-related activities.

Making a Donation to the Driving with Grace Campaign

If you would like to make a donation to the Driving with Grace campaign, please make your cheque payable to the Safer Roads Foundation adding 'Driving with Grace' on the reverse of the cheque and send to:

Safer Roads Foundation
10 Queen Street Place,
London EC4R 1BE