A weekly newspaper has launched a petition backing a family’s campaign for a change in drink-driving laws, following the death of their 11-year-old son.
The Morley Observer amd Advertiser is supporting a campaign by the family of Harry Whitlam, pictured left, who was hit and killed by a tractor on a farm in 2013.
The driver of the vehicle was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit but because of a loophole in the law, he could not be prosecuted because he was driving on private land.
Now, Harry’s family have launched a campaign calling for a new ‘Whitlam’s Law’, which makes no distinction between public and private land if someone is driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The Observer is backing the campaign and has started a petition in support.
Reporter Leanne Clarke said the title had been in touch with Harry’s family since his death, including reporting on his inquest and fundraising efforts in his memory.
She said: “The campaign is in the very early stages at the moment. We are hoping to get this loophole closed.
“Anything that we can do to help, we will do. There has been quite a few signing up for the petition, word is getting out there about it.
“They are a lovely family and hopefully we can help them. They have gone though such a horrible time. Hopefully something positive can come out of it and there can be a change in the law.”
Harry died in hospital in August 2013 after being struck by a reversing tractor at a farm in Rothwell, West Yorkshire.
His mum Pamela Whitlam told the Observer: “We are hoping to change the law as I don’t believe there to be any difference that if someone is drink driving, where ever they are, they should be prosecuted – whether they are on public land or private.
“There is a big loop hole in the legal system and it is completely wrong.
“I don’t want Harry to be used as an example for drivers to get out of being prosecuted.
“I would much rather see Harry’s name used to save people’s lives, close this legal loophole and change the law than be used to acquit drivers, leaving them to re-offend.”
The family are using the hashtag #Whitlamslaw to publicise the campaign on Twitter.