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Road safety campaigner dedicates MBE to eight-year-old son who was killed in motorway crash

A road safety campaigner has dedicated her MBE[1] to the memory of her eight-year-old son who died in a crash on a smart motorway. 

Meera Naran’s son Dev was killed in May 2018 after a lorry hit his grandfather’s car on the hard shoulder of the M6 which was being used by moving traffic.

Since his death, Ms Naran, who is from Leicester, has dedicated her time to improving the smart motorway system and played a key role in the government’s new 18-point safety plan.

She also helped with updates to the Highway Code around motorway driving and successfully lobbied the government for a £5million road education campaign – the first phase of which has been rolled out.

Her MBE was for her services to road safety.

She told the BBC: “I’m accepting this in the memory of my son, Dev, and for me it’s about continuing to focus on my campaign, which is safer drivers on safer roads.

“The first person I actually wanted to tell was Dev and it was so hard because he’s not here.

“We were always each other’s cheerleaders – it’s really hard.”

She said that she was “honoured and humbled” for her hard work to be recognised “especially in memory of Dev”. 

“Grief is all-consuming…and it is devastating. If allowed, it can consume you. But I always believed in turning that into something positive by helping to save the lives of others. That’s what keeps me going,” Ms Naran said in a statement posted by De Montfort University[3] where she is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy.

“My campaigning voice has been motivated by all the unspent love I have for Dev. If he was here, he would be getting all that love. It would be his. But instead, I am using it for road safety.”

Reflecting on her campaigning she explained that it was her “determination” from the very beginning which helped her push for changes. 

However, Ms Naran said: “I’m just really pleased it has got me where we are today, but obviously it comes with the sadness of losing my baby.

She added: “Until we achieve zero deaths, I will not be able to say that I have succeeded.”

A smart motorway is a section of a motorway that uses traffic management methods to increase capacity and reduce congestion in busy areas.

These methods could include utilising the hard shoulder as a running lane and using variable speed limits to control the flow of traffic.

But there have been questions over their safety after fatal accidents involving stationary cars being hit from behind.

In April the government announced that no more smart motorways without hard shoulders will be able to open without additional safety measures put in place. 

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