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She says she is reassured that her campaign is working and adds: “I’m delighted that Liverpool City Council – and St Helens MBC – have acted even before the government has put national legislation in place.
“We are making the roads safer.”
The move comes after four councils – including Liverpool and St Helens – approved a taxi as safe despite it having four, illegal part-worn tyres.
John Stone, owner of Stone Tyres and founder of the Independent Tyre Fitters Alliance, purchased the Skoda Octavia and fitted it with the tyres dating from 1999, 2001 and 2003 before submitting it to St Helens, Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton council-approved test centres for a taxi compliance test.
Each council’s test centre passed the vehicle – on which none of the tyres were marked as ‘part worn’, as they should be by law, and which had one illegal part worn winter tyre, imported from Germany 10 years ago – as safe.
Liverpool City Council made its announcement this afternoon and St Helens MBC had already agreed to ban the use of part worn tyres on all licensed vehicles, with John Stone urging others to follow suit.
Frances, who has been campaigning for it to be made illegal for a coach or bus to use tyres more than 10 years old for the last seven years, says: “The government has to act now. It has to do something before we lose more lives.
“They have waited and wasted too much time already. How many deaths will it take?”
Frances was speaking a year after the government pledged to bring in the legislation that she and her supporters were demanding: “Twelve months ago we were told that there’d be a consultation period, which did happen although we’ve had no results, and that the law would be changed with legislation in place by December last year, to ban the use of tyres more than 10 years old on buses, coaches, HGVs, mini buses and taxis – basically public transport.
“There has been nothing, and the government should hang its head in shame at the delay,”
“My son died because a coach he was travelling in had a blow out, causing it to veer off the road and into a tree. The tyre was 19 ½ years old!
“Since then others have been killed in similar accidents. There were five people killed on the M5 in 2017 due to a 19-year old-tyre. I’m now in contact with the mother of Rebecca Mitchell who was killed and we are going to arrange to meet and join forces.
“We have had enough excuses. We need to change the law. Michael’s crash destroyed our lives. No-one else should have theirs turned upside because of the government’s inability to carry out changes that so obviously need to be made.”
It was on September 10, 2012, that Frances’ life changed for ever.
Michael, 18, was on his way back from Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight when the blow out occurred and he was killed, along with two others, Kerry Ogden, 23, and Colin Daulby, 63.
It was her desire to get justice for the son she loved which inspired Frances to launch the Tyred Campaign in June 2017.
Not surprisingly the campaign has taken its toll on Frances. “It’s hard,” she says. “I have to talk about losing Michael and yet try to keep my composure, and face rejection again and again.
“After hitting barriers, I come away upset and thinking how unbelievable it is, but I’m not letting it go. I am encouraged by all the support, and I want to change something that is so wrong.
“To give up would be saying it was okay that he was killed. And it wasn’t.”
Frances has received massive support from people like MP Maria Eagle, and she has got further support from lawyer and TV presenter Judge ‘Robert’ Rinder on whose show she is set to appear on March 19.
Frances says: “This isn’t the sort of show they normally do but they can see that there is an injustice and that this is where the law should step in.”
She adds that such high-profile pressure will hopefully help to finally get the changes made, but she adds that overwhelming support that has always helped her has come from the people of Liverpool and the city itself.
“This city gets behind people like no other. Liverpool does not like injustice as we have seen from the huge support given to the Hillsborough families during their years of campaigning.
“It is that which has held me together – that and my two other sons Liam and Joe. That which has help me together and helped me to carry on.”
Among those Liverpool people who have been a support for Frances is now-Hollywood and Killing Eve star, actress Jodie Comer.
“Support from people like Jodie massively helps.
“She is such a lovely girl and a lovely person. She has gone on to international stardom and yet remains so grounded. It’s great that I can text Jodie, who knows my boys and went to a local school, and ask her to tweet something for us, and she does it.
“She is filming abroad at the moment, in the middle of something quite big, and yet still she finds the time to help us. Jodie is using her platform to enable us to get this message out wider. It’s people like her who have such a massive following who can get that greater reach, who can put more pressure on.
“Jodie can get the message not just across the country, but across the world. And I am very grateful to her.”
Adds Frances: “As I have said before, I hope one day to be able to say that Michael’s death has not been in vain, and that there’s been a level of justice.
“I will know that I’ve done as much as I can and perhaps changed the outcome for someone else. I will know I have done the right thing.
“To lose Michael was devastating. To know it didn’t need to happen is torture. I will continue to do everything I can to save other people, other mums, from having to go through that. I just hope change comes soon.”
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