Birmingham & Black Country

Poppy-Arabella: Letter sent to PM to change driving law

Poppy-Arabella Clarke Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Poppy-Arabella was described by her mother as "incredibly kind and hilariously funny"

A letter has been written to the prime minister in an effort to change the law around unfit drivers.

Poppy-Arabella Clarke was killed by a visually impaired driver at a crossing in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

John Place, 72, had been told his eye-sight was below the standard set by the DVLA even with his glasses, which he was not wearing the day of the crash.

Her parents want medical professionals to alert the DVLA if someone is medically unfit to drive.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Rachel Clarke was seriously injured when John Place ran a red light and crashed into her and her daughter

In the letter, posted on Monday, Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington, said Poppy-Arabella's death in 2016 was "all the more tragic because it could easily have been avoided".

Place, of Bakers Lane in Sutton Coldfield, was jailed for four years in March 2017. He admitted he had not seen the red light or the crossing.

Under current laws, motorists are advised to report themselves to the DVLA if they are medically unfit to drive, and an eye-test is not compulsory before the age of 70.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Poppy-Arabella was hit by John Place's car as she was on her way to nursery

Rachel and Phil Clarke announced last year they wanted a change to the law, but told the BBC it has taken until now because they needed time to grieve after the court case.

They are now campaigning for legislation for medical professionals to report unfit drivers and also for more regular eye tests.

Mrs Clarke, who was seriously injured in the crash, said she thought those laws were already in place "because it's so obvious".

"It's really shattered our lives," Mr Clarke said, "but we can save others from going through this."

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