Each year, Elber Twomey holds a special ‘Remorial’ event to pay tribute to the family who lost them to a driver suffering from a mental health crisis.
He is using the weekend to promote road safety, raise money for local charities and most importantly, honor the memories of the husband, son and unborn daughter she was robbed of.
Most importantly, Ms Twomey does not want to see any family – in Ireland or across Europe – suffer the heartbreaking loss she suffered on a British street just hours before the summer holidays were due to end.
“I don’t want anyone to go through the nightmare that I went through,” she said.
“Life is precious and that is the message I want to convey to people – that all road regulations should be about protecting your own precious cargo and the precious lives of other road users.
“There is a lot we can all do to make our roads safer. But I think everything starts with the first step.”
This week Ms Twomey accompanied Maeve Kelly, who suffered horrific injuries in a head-on collision caused by a mentally unstable driver, on a trip to Brussels as part of her campaign for improved road safety across Europe. Today you will attend a policy hearing on road safety protocols.
The European Commission is hosting the hearing to discuss ways to improve road safety across Europe, including how mental health issues should affect driving license enforcement.
Safety activists want medical professionals who are aware of people with mental health problems to be required to report them to the police.
This would in turn trigger an automatic security check of the person’s driver’s license.
Both women were invited to Brussels for a driver’s license check and medical assessment after the traffic safety authority had submitted a request.
Ms Twomey lost her entire family in a crash in Devon caused by a suicidal driver in July 2012.
The North Cork woman lost her husband Con, 38, their 16-month-old son Oisín and their unborn baby Elber-Marie.
The trigger for the tragedy was the Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski (26), who rammed his Volkswagen Golf outside of Torquay on the way back to Ireland.
Con died almost 10 months after the collision from the injuries he sustained.
Baby Oisín and his unborn sister Elber Marie died within hours of the crash.
Ms. Twomey survived despite a severe head injury and then had to undergo 19 surgeries.
Since her recovery she has campaigned tirelessly for road safety reforms in Ireland and abroad and has been recognized for her work in several countries.
This year, their “Remorial” weekend will take place on June 11th and 12th.
A number of events are planned, including a 55km charity bike ride and a 10km road race.
Maeve Kelly survived a head-on collision in Roscommon in March 2016.
She and her teenage daughter Abbie were left with lifelong physical and mental scars after a collision caused by a driver suffering from psychosis.
The driver who died in the collision had intentionally turned off his vehicle’s lights and veered onto the wrong side of the road, where he collided head-on with his car.
Since the collision, Ms Kelly has been calling for legislation to be passed giving the power to temporarily suspend someone’s driver’s license if they are suffering from a psychotic episode.
“He passed a line of traffic and drove right into me,” she said.
“Just before impact, his lights went out.
“I put my hand on my daughter’s knee and said, ‘We have nowhere to go.’ And that was it.
“He was diagnosed with a serious mental illness.
“I woke up in the hospital weeks later and only then did I realize the extent of my injuries – they were catastrophic.”
Both legs and numerous other bones were broken, and she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
“Everything you know is fragmented,” she said.
“It’s only at this point that the grieving process begins, when you realize you’ve lost your identity.”
Ms Kelly has called for a review and tightening of legislation regarding people with serious mental illness and their access to “what I now know can be a deadly weapon” – a car, van or truck.
“I think their cognitive ability to drive should be assessed regularly because driving can pose a risk not only to themselves but to others,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/car-crash-victims-take-every-life-is-precious-message-to-brussels-road-safety-summit-41664498.html Car crash victims bring ‘Every life is precious’ message to Brussels Road Safety Summit