This powerful documentary explores why newly qualified drivers are so often at the centre of traffic accidents and why these are the single biggest killer of young people.
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I'm Sophie Morgan, and I like to live life to the full.
Five seconds, here we go.
Whether it be TV work, skydiving or modelling, I don't let the fact I'm paralysed hold me back.
But I wasn't born disabled.
Aged 18, I was a total wild child, and my driving was just as crazy.
Six months after passing my driving test, I was speeding,
misjudged a corner, and the car flipped over.
I woke up in hospital, confused and completely terrified.
It was then that I realised that I couldn't feel my body
and that I was paralysed.
What is it that turns people like me into maniacs
when we first get behind the wheel...
You can't stay at 30 mile an hour and that. It's just...
It's such a boring speed.
..and has made traffic collisions
the single biggest killer of young people?
I feel like I've been transported into another world
where, like, rules and fear don't exist.
'A fifth of all new drivers will have a serious collision
'in their first year driving.'
Oh, my God, look how fast he's going!
To find out why, I'll meet people who've had an accident
change their lives forever...
She is very, very poorly. Shattered spine.
19 years old.
..as they fight for justice, or to survive.
I'll discover what it means to be responsible for the death
of someone you love.
A lot of people call me a murderer.
You just want to scream that you never meant to do it.
I'll be there as one of football's brightest new stars faces up
to his actions behind the wheel.
Now I think about it, I wish I'd never drive...drove.
'How do we stop a driving licence becoming a licence to kill?'
That car... Couldn't stand a chance in that car. Oh, my God.
It's Saturday night and the crowds are out enjoying themselves.
But what's about to happen will change the lives
of three teenagers forever.
One is an 18-year-old Mercedes driver,
just leaving a Manchester restaurant.
Three miles away, 17-year-old student Harveen Singh
is with his family at evening prayers.
In the next 30 seconds, two people will die
and two will be seriously injured, and it's all captured on CCTV.
REPORTER: A man and a woman died
when a Mercedes was involved in a collision with a Nissan Micra...
Her two teenage sons were also injured, one of them critically.
A man was arrested at the scene.
Every day, 2,000 people are injured on British roads,
and five of them die.
Harveen's mum and uncle were killed in this crash.
He and his younger brother are now orphans.
The Mercedes driver who crashed into them is an 18-year-old,
who's only been driving a few months,
just like me when I had my crash.
What made him drive so fast,
especially when he's got so much to lose?
Courtney Meppen-Walter, from Bury, play anywhere on the left.
Courtney Meppen-Walter is a hot shot footballer,
tipped as the next big star.
He's been playing football for Manchester City
since the age of nine and is captain of England's under-18 squad.
And now he's responsible for the deaths of two people.
Hi, it's Sophie, I'm here to see Greg Entwistle.
'Like Courtney, I was driving too fast when I had my accident.
'It's a miracle I didn't kill anyone.
'When you're the only victim, the police don't get involved.
'But this time, it's different.'
What time of night is this?
Ten past ten in the evening on Saturday evening.
What would be the speed limit round here?
-It's 30 miles an hour.
-This is the Mercedes.
Look how fast he's going!
This is the vehicle that the Singh family were travelling in.
He's waiting for a gap in the traffic.
Oh, my God! That's horrendous!
Oh, look, and there he is, he's got out.
What do you know about the driver of the Mercedes?
He'd been out for an evening with his friends.
Erm, he passed his test 11 months before that.
As a young driver, he's driving a very powerful car.
He's pretty inexperienced. Most 18-year-olds are probably
more likely to be found in the Nissan than in the Mercedes.
He had no idea that his actions are going to just about ruin
-so many people's lives.
-Including his own.
-There's no winners out of any of this.
As well as this other family, his life has changed completely as well.
Courtney is currently on bail, and will reappear
at the police station in a few weeks.
In that time, the Singh family will try and come to terms
with the devastating effects of Courtney's driving.
Harveen Singh was the only one to walk away from the car.
With his mother and uncle dead, and his brother on the critical list,
he and the family want to understand exactly what happened.
So they've asked to see the wreckage of the car.
SOBBING AND GROANING
Look at the car, look at that.
'Harveen's Uncle Gawa lost his brother and sister in the crash...'
30 zone, look at that. How can people be surviving that?
'..and his aunt lost her husband.'
That is just devastating.
I mean, that car...
Couldn't stand a chance in that car. Oh, my God.
To imagine the people that were actually in that car.
The human beings, and you just...you look at the car and it's just...
It's haunted, it's horrible.
It's too much for Harveen to take in.
It's really hard to explain a single word.
Because I want to forget everything,
but it's really hard because when I go to sleep,
I'm thinking about my mum.
Did they tell you that you'd been hit by a young person?
Yeah, when I'm discharged from hospital,
so they tell me that a footballer do it.
And it's like...a footballer, so I think I can't get justice now,
-cos a City footballer, he can buy a big solicitor.
If he got a prison... Got only ten years.
I lost my whole family.
How are you going to cope?
I don't have any words, don't have any words to explain.
I can understand why Harveen is feeling such a mixture of emotions.
But the police will stick to the facts,
and the CCTV clearly shows Courtney travelling much faster
than the other cars on the road.
Speed is a factor in a quarter of fatal road traffic collisions.
For many of us, me included, from the moment we pass our test,
we look forward to the feeling of power under our foot.
And for some people, speed is the only reason to drive.
This looks interesting - car cruise.
Across the country, large groups regularly meet up
to show off their super-charged cars and bikes.
Many go for one purpose - to race.
They do it on public roads that are normally quiet,
but at weekends turn into an illegal race track.
Those who take part don't seem to care about breaking the law
or anyone's safety.
"It's pointless meeting there,
"police are all over it as they have been for the last year."
"Police blocked everyone in and handed every single person
"a section 59."
"My mate's MG got taken off him."
Well, it's obviously really illegal
because they're... All the messages are panicking about
whether police are going to come.
"We want to keep one of Manchester's biggest car meets going."
"Who's going to be attending the new location this Friday?"
I want to go along, to try and understand
these drivers' need for speed.
When I was 18, would I have been classed as a speed freak?
One thing I do know - if I ever was addicted to speed,
I'm certainly not now.
I am really nervous about this
because, ever since my accident,
I've...I've always been scared of speeding,
and there's going to be a lot of speeding around!
This is madness.
I feel like I've been transported into another world
where, like, rules and fear don't exist.
A little bit!
It was hard to hear above the noise,
but I want to know what brings people to these events.
What about you guys? Do you race or just watching?
I used to have a bit of a play but I don't now.
I've got a police mark on my car and a few section 59s
and my licence revoked.
-Speed's like a drug, innit, really?
You can't stay at 30 mile an hour and that.
It's such a boring speed!
-You just went for a race?
It gets your adrenaline rush going.
It doesn't scare me because it's never happened to me.
Do you understand where I'm coming from?
I don't think anybody realises until it happens to themselves.
I wasn't like this, I wasn't like, you know, pushing the limits.
I was just an inexperienced kid driving badly.
This is different, you know, this is a different environment.
It scares me.
'Not everyone here tonight has come to race.'
-There's dickheads out tonight.
-Yeah, there's knobheads out tonight.
-You can see them flying up and down.
Just cos you come down, doesn't mean you're going to be...
leathering it up and down.
We've been stood here looking at the people
-driving past going...
As the night wears on, and with no sign of the police,
some drivers take more and more risks.
They're behaving as if they're indestructible.
It's like their brain ignores danger.
Get out the road!
Someone's going to get hurt on a bike, I'll tell you that!
-So you think bikes are more dangerous?
-Are you not scared of having an accident?
What if you weren't killed but you were in a state
where you couldn't ride a bike again?
You were sat in a wheelchair, or you lost a limb or worse?
I'd rather just be killed than be, like, paralysed or something.
You'd rather be killed than paralysed?
-I was paralysed in a car accident, yeah?
So you're saying... but that doesn't bother you?
You're not thinking about that?
Be awful, that. It would be awful.
I'd probably take my life.
-You'd kill yourself?
-Yeah, I wouldn't want to be like that.
'They're just annoying me now.'
That slap in the face when life happens hasn't happened to them.
But I fear for the day
when they have to face the consequences of just having fun.
I'm relieved the night passes without disaster.
But only 20 miles away, the same week,
another cruise ends very differently.
Two bikes have been involved in a collision, near Wigan,
and one rider is dead.
The yellow bike you see on the road, the witnesses, they've said
they couldn't believe the speed he was going.
For some reason, we're not quite sure at the moment,
he's struck this motorcycle here, there's been a massive impact
between the two and unfortunately a male's died.
And from what I understand, it's the male on the Hornet who's died.
The accident has claimed the life of 18-year-old Ryan Smith.
The other victim, Leah Davis, has been taken to hospital.
Leah Davis. She's very, very poorly.
19 years old.
Ryan may have only had his bike licence for a year,
but he had a established himself as a top rider in the biking community.
I think to keep Ryan off motorbikes, I think
you'd have had to take his legs off and his arms off!
Because that's the way he just was.
Dead lovable, you know what I mean? That's how he was. A great son.
He was still a baby to me. He never grew up. He never grew up.
He was like our gentle giant, really, wasn't he?
That's what everybody called him - big, friendly giant.
There's a picture of him up there,
sat on the British Grand Prix champion's bike, seven year old.
He had the bug.
I know a lot of families would probably say, well, should you have
let him have that bike? Well, yeah, I should because that was his life.
He loved bikes.
And I think it'd be cruel to take... Well, I'd have took his life away.
If I'd took his bike away, I'd have took his life away.
-You find, like, young girls love horses.
-What do you do?
Do you take the horse off them because it's thrown her off twice?
You're always going to have people with a passion for bikes
and it doesn't leave them.
It's such...so hard.
Christ, look at the bikes.
It always shocks me when you look at the images of the machinery
when it's damaged and you think about the machinery
being completely written off and broken to pieces,
and just think about... and that's metal!
You think of the bodies that were involved in that.
We don't stand a chance!
'The police are trying to piece together what happened.'
-This is Ryan, lifts up.
-Lifts up, lifts up.
Yeah, that's not 30 mph.
God, that's fast.
In his showing off of his skills, it's gone wrong.
It was not the place to do it.
You cannot predict what's going to happen in a public place.
You have a witness saying that Leah has pulled out into the junction?
Undoubtedly, Leah is in the main carriageway.
She's pulled out into the carriageway, ahead of a vehicle.
That asks the question,
was she driving as good as she's expected to do?
He's travelling at such speed.
Very much so. This is the thing about Leah's driving -
would a reasonable and competent driver
have expected something like that to happen?
I know that there's questions to be asked
about both persons' standard of driving.
There's a combination of Leah's actions
and Ryan's actions that have led to this.
I always think scenes of accidents are such haunting places.
Somewhere that, to most of us, would just be a road
can become the most significant place in a family's life.
This spot is already so important to Ryan's family and friends.
One in three of all people who die on the roads is under 25.
Experts say that's because younger drivers are more likely
to take risks.
But with less experience, they're less able to cope
with those risks, especially if something goes wrong.
It's been a week since footballer Courtney Meppen-Walter's car
collided with the Singh family's.
Harveen's mother and uncle were killed,
and his brother Ajmit suffered severe head and brain injuries.
Doctors don't yet know if he can recover.
We've kept him extremely well-sedated, and what we're
trying to do now is to slowly wake him from that sedation.
However, when you're sedated, it doesn't tell you what's actually
going on underneath. It's like the current in a river.
You know what's on top, might look calm,
but you've no idea what's going on underneath.
He's sustained a significant injury.
Anyone in intensive care is touch and go.
Can he hear us?
I always assume somebody can hear.
I always assume the last sense anybody loses is their hearing,
and it might not be the case. It might just be me
making it easier for me. Otherwise you end up talking to yourself.
Ajmit doesn't know his mum and uncle are dead,
and today they're being buried.
At 16, Harveen is now head of the family,
as their dad was murdered by the Taliban in their native Afghanistan.
They fled to Britain just a year ago,
but that new life is now in tatters.
The 18-year-old whose car ploughed into them
also faces an uncertain future.
But while he waits to see if he'll be charged,
Courtney Meppen-Walter has made his first substitute
appearance for the Manchester City first team.
He tweeted how proud he was.
"Best day of whole life being on the bench
"for the first team in the Champions League game against Ajax."
This is someone who should be starting a successful career,
but instead he could be facing the end of it.
Courtney's next appearance is at a police station custody suite.
Up to now, he's believed that the key factor in the crash
was the Singh family pulling out in front of him.
But today he's going to be faced with the reality of what happened.
I am authorised to take you into the police station,
so you can be questioned about the offence you've been arrested for.
-Do you understand that?
-Are you fit and well?
-Anything that's going to affect your stay here in custody?
The police treat him like any other criminal, but it isn't every day
they have someone tipped as a future football superstar in their station.
Courtney is about to be shown the CCTV footage for the first time.
He'll be told his Mercedes was travelling at 56 mph -
almost twice the speed limit.
'It will change everything he previously thought
'about that night.'
He did refer to it as an accident, didn't he?
It wasn't an accident!
-There are actions...
-Exactly, it's avoidable.
Had he not being doing what he was doing on that night,
it's unlikely that we'd all be sat here today.
I mean, it's got to be too overwhelming for a young guy
-to actually fathom, hasn't it?
-Absolutely. Yeah, for anybody.
Yeah, I mean, to actually go to sleep with that, that he's taken
someone's mum and someone's family away from them.
Put yourself in their place, it could be me
-or that could be my brother, sister, father.
And it really could with driving. They could just be driving too fast
and boom, look at what's happened.
'I'm not sure how many of us
'can honestly say that we always drive at the speed limit.'
In fact, road safety charity Brake suggests
young drivers are more likely to regularly exceed it,
and there's even a scientific reason for that,
because the part of the brain that controls taking risks
doesn't usually develop until the mid 20s.
But in my case,
it was something else that changed my attitude to speed.
And though I'm living with the results of that, believe me
when I say I feel lucky next to Courtney.
I would always choose to damage myself than live with
the guilt of taking a life,
but it easily could have been different.
It's nearly ten years since my crash,
and it's time to face my demons.
I'm back in Scotland where it happened,
and I'm meeting the people I could have killed.
We haven't talked about it since that night.
Coming back to this place is very significant for me,
because it's really where my old life ended and a new life started.
I re-live this, this journey, in my dreams sometimes.
It's something that is with me for life.
It's the image of this route,
of this area, and I never really know how I feel.
The main difference, I think, is that when I come up here,
I'm coming up here now as someone who's in a wheelchair.
And I look back at the girl I was then, wandering round,
walking about, and how little I knew how things were going to be affected
and what was going to happen
and the changes that were going to take place.
So this is...this is where I took my last steps ever.
It was here in 2003 that we were out celebrating our A level results.
We all knew it was the end of an era,
but for me it was the end of one life.
I remember how I was feeling at the time.
Full of excitement because it was basically the next start...
the start of my new life, out of school, off to uni.
The reality was that
that was not going to happen and it was going to change.
CAR HORN BEEPS
'The crash happened as we drove back to a friend's house.
'I had only driven half a mile.'
Isn't there meant to be a fence here?
-There was but it's gone.
-But they still haven't fixed it?
They haven't fixed the road either.
-They can't fix the road, though.
-There's marks on the road, yeah.
Do you remember how fast I was driving?
I think it was maybe, like, over 70.
-You took the corner too wide and then, er...
Shot across and then at the verge, lifted the car.
And then I put my head through a window.
-You were hysterical.
You kept saying, "I can't feel my legs, I can't feel my legs."
So I thought, "Oh, it's pretty bad."
The fire brigade were there when we left, but they, er... They hadn't
even... I don't think they'd even worked out
how they were going to get Sophie out by the time we left.
The minute I start thinking about how it affects the people that
I have in my life, it just... It makes me very, very upset,
cos it's...it was my fault. Everything was my fault.
And my friends have had to live with what I did
and I don't think I'll ever find peace with that.
I was angry with you because you endangered our lives.
There was anger... I think there was upset.
I think that's absolutely fair enough that any of you
would get angry.
If I had been you, and you'd have crashed that car,
despite anything that you'd done to yourself, I'd be furious with you.
I hate thinking about the fact that I've done lasting damage to any
of you. I'm glad that it was just me, and in many ways I think
I deserve what happened to me because I was driving like an idiot.
I just thought that the rules didn't apply to me
and that I could make my own rules, and I could do my own thing.
Nowadays I think of that 18-year-old me with a shudder,
and I think that she shouldn't have been allowed on the road.
26,500 drivers under 25 are disqualified every year,
and there are some who haven't just made careless mistakes
when they're driving.
They're deliberately putting people's lives in danger.
It was one of those that biker Chris Sinclair came across
one evening when he was heading home from work.
20-year-old Nikash Sultan -
a petrol head who spent hundreds of hours
and thousands of pounds modifying his car,
and what he really liked to do in them was race...
..wherever he felt like it,
sometimes filmed by his mates.
The police took me down the route Sultan travelled when he decided
to race another driver, someone he'd never even met - Umair Qureshi.
Sultan's vehicle pulls up first here at these lights
just by the Natwest bank.
And then Qureshi's Mini pulls up second.
Sultan's took issue with Qureshi driving the car.
-Qureshi just took issue with him driving his car.
They now both want to out-perform each other
and demonstrate who's the best driver.
Our witness describes that he sees the cars coming
in his rear-view mirror and they're already making use
-of this red hashed markings here.
And he describes the cars as nearly having a collision
with this central island, and he says they're using both sides
of the road to make progress down this road.
Now the last sighting we get before the collision is from here.
-There's two cameras on that building.
At this point we've got them at 70 miles an hour.
70 miles an hour, here?!
Yeah. A Honda mounts the pavement, drives up the pavement,
and across straight into the opposing carriageway just where
-that silver car is now...
-..and he hit Chris head on.
22-year-old Chris was riding in the opposite direction
when Sultan's car crashed into him at 70 mph.
The witnesses described Chris as going 30 feet in the air.
Some describe him as going three-quarters of the height
of a lamp-post, and they see his body crash to the ground.
At what point did the balance tip that winning that race was more
important than everybody's lives?
The crash happened four months ago,
and while the drivers wait to appear in court,
Chris has spent all that time in hospital.
He's got multiple injuries,
and has been wearing a metal halo to try and heal his broken neck.
But it's causing him great pain.
We've got a couple of pics of your neck to do if that's all right?
Open your mouth as wide as you can.
-Right, Christopher. All done.
In a lot of pain, a lot of pain.
The X-ray confirms that Chris's neck is healing
and the halo can be removed.
'But Chris will spend months going in and out of hospital,
'something I'm all too familiar with.'
How are you feeling now?
Same, to be honest, not... slow recovery,
erm, but I am pleased I've had the halo took off
and I'm in a lot less pain with my head-wise.
Is that the first time you've been in an accident like that?
You know what dangers you take when you jump on a bike,
but you don't think someone's going to hit you at that high speed.
The guys that hit you, are you angry with them?
Yeah. If I ever get hold of them,
erm, you know, I'd...I'd...
I'd do something I don't want to do, to be honest.
When they do go to court and they do go to prison, you know,
I'll feel a bit better about that,
but it still won't change the fact that, you know, I nearly died.
Considering the speed Sultan's car was travelling
when he hit Chris, it's amazing he's still alive,
but he's looking at a long and difficult recovery.
I was in hospital for four months, and was put into an induced coma
as a last ditch attempt to stop my brain swelling.
In Salford, doctors did the same with Ajmit Singh.
Now they've woken him up,
but, so far, they don't know if the collision has caused lasting damage.
Today his family are hoping to get an update on his condition,
and Harveen is hoping his brother will respond
to the sound of his voice calling his nickname.
Ajmit is conscious, but isn't responding to stimulation.
Harveen fears that his brother will never recover.
But he knows that Ajmit is a fighter.
It's working. Ajmit has heard his brother's voice.
This is his first response since the accident,
and it's a breakthrough moment for the family.
Have the doctors said what they hope will be for him, the prognosis?
Yeah, they said he's going great, and maybe in future he can walk
but they're not sure, they're not sure.
If he can try, then maybe he can talk.
He's still got a long way to go, hasn't he?
-Yeah, the doctor said maybe he could take one year or something.
-Long, long time.
Ajmit is starting to make progress.
But in another ward in the hospital
lies another victim of a road traffic collision.
A week after being left in a coma in the crash that killed
Ryan Smith, Leah Davies's fight for survival is coming to an end.
# If I lay here
# If I just lay here... #
Leah's twin Sarah kept a journal in the hope that she could share it
with her sister one day.
"We finally got into Resuscitation to see you.
"I was shocked at what you looked like.
"You were swollen and bruised, it didn't look like you.
"It just hit me hard. We got told you had severe back injuries.
"Leg and arm and head injuries also.
"This was my worst nightmare.
"I felt like I was dreaming and I couldn't wake myself up."
How was Leah when you first saw her?
You couldn't hug her, and you couldn't...
You couldn't kiss her properly.
All you could do is stroke her hand.
We talked to her, we put photographs up in the room
so that the nurses knew what she looked like.
The Leah that was lay there on the bed, she was a broken person
so we wanted to let them know that this is who Leah is.
This is who Leah was.
"I was in your room with you on my own for a while
"and I played your song to you.
"I sang every word to you. I know you could hear me.
"I smell your hair and run my fingers through it.
"Everything about you is so beautiful and always will be."
I didn't want to be there when they turned the machines off
cos I don't think I could see her like that, but then, erm,
I've said from the beginning, really, that we came in the world together
so we should have gone out together.
Until you're a twin, you won't realise what it's like.
It's just different from a sister or a brother or whatever.
Like, it's a different love what you have for your parents
than you do with your sister and then it's just more intense.
That's the only thing I can describe it as, really, is intense.
You seem really strong about it.
-Sometimes I'm not.
-No, I bet you're not.
I know you have to cry about it but...
-I don't think it's my time to cry yet, really.
Yeah, cos I've not let go of her yet, really, so...
Cos I'm still talking to her. And I sound like a mental person!
But, like, I think everyone should have a journal.
Leah and Ryan's deaths have bitterly divided some of their friends,
with both sides blaming the other for the crash.
It's the after stuff, the gossip, people getting involved.
Grieving does horrible things.
It does nice things and horrible things,
and people don't think in their right mind.
I think if didn't have all this animosity, we could have pulled
together, and no-one needs to have all this.
'In coroner's court,
'neither driver was held accountable for the crash,
'but I can understand why families who've lost
'someone in a collision might want to find someone to blame.
'I can't imagine, though, what it must feel like to be the person
'responsible for a death.
'And how much worse that must be if you've killed someone you love.'
I'm in the middle of talking, and then somebody gets a picture.
-Not your best shot!
-No, it's not!
'Jayme Mann and Lee Dipino had been best friends for years
'before starting a relationship and planning a future together.'
We were really happy
and things were just going how we wanted them to.
And then it all...
Jayme had only been driving for six months
when she drove them home one night.
So this is where you had your accident? Yeah.
I remember coming round that corner there,
then I felt the car come out at the back,
and then I just didn't know what to do to get back from that.
-Really? So you felt like the car had lost control?
And then you didn't know how to steer it back into control?
I can't remember seeing it, but I can hear it all.
I can still hear it now.
Going into the first tree,
and then after that I just remember waking up.
'It's difficult to know exactly what happened or why Jayme lost control.
'There's no CCTV on roads like this one.
'Jayme was shaken but not badly injured,
'but Lee was instantly killed.'
Did you know that Lee was dead?
Yeah. You could just tell that nobody was there.
Knowing you're responsible for that happening to somebody
is the worst thing ever.
'Before the collision, the couple had shared a large group of friends,
'but Lee's death changed all that.'
A lot of people are quite nasty towards me now.
What did they say?
-Called me a murderer and stuff.
-People called you a murderer?
You just sometimes want to scream and say that you never meant to do it.
In court, Lee's family had hoped that Jayme would go to prison,
but the judge blamed "a momentary lack of attention",
and decided she'd suffered enough, so she didn't go to jail.
But two years after the accident,
I get the feeling that she's really serving a life sentence.
What's happened to Jayme
is one of the saddest things that could happen to anybody.
To have killed the person that you love and to be responsible
for that and have to live with that for the rest of your life.
How does anybody recover from that?
If you survive a car accident, I don't think people realise
just how life-destroying it is.
And even if you do walk away, you never walk away.
You carry that forever.
When I next visit Chris Sinclair,
hit on his bike by 70-miles-an-hour road-racer Nikash Sultan,
he's doing well with his physical recovery,
but seeking justice is very much on his mind.
Mr Sultan has pleaded guilty.
As a result of those admissions, we charged him with dangerous driving.
That is the most serious driving offence, without causing
a death, that the police can charge somebody with.
I'll be completely honest with you today.
I need to prepare you for the sentencing at the crown court.
The maximum sentence for dangerous driving is two years' imprisonment.
It's something that neither you or I have any control over.
Doctors have said it's going to take a year for me
to get back to work, and even then I won't even be fully healed,
and he'll probably be out of prison by then.
There's no other word to describe it except ridiculous.
It's something that we struggle to comprehend.
It's almost the final kick in the guts, really.
Thanks a lot, mate.
Last December, the maximum sentence for causing serious injury
by dangerous driving increased to five years.
But that's come too late for Chris.
I was hoping he'd get five more years,
but, no, he's only getting the one year.
You were the victim of dangerous driving,
and it makes me really sad that you're not going to get the peace
that you deserve.
I really want to do it myself, to be honest.
Go and smash him into a car
and leave him half dead on the floor.
I really do.
I'd happily do a year in prison to know he's going through
what I've been through.
At this point in time, he has lost himself a bit, to the point where
he can say he wants to hurt someone and you do lose a bit of yourself
when you have an accident. You aren't the same, you are changed.
I think that's what I just saw in Chris and it makes me really sad.
It's not about me or anything but it's the anniversary
of my accident, and it makes me think about where I was then.
And still, you know,
nine years on, I'm still living with the consequences
and the repercussions of this, of the driving...
of the driving badly.
The drivers responsible for Chris's collision were later
sentenced to 16 months in prison.
But for Ajmit Singh, the repercussions of the accident
that killed his mum and uncle will be felt forever.
Still in hospital, he's making real progress,
but he can't speak, and communicates using a spell board,
and he isn't really aware of what's happened.
I'll get your chart.
Should I get his chart for him?
Ajmit still doesn't know his mum is dead.
"Call my M-U-M."
-Mum. Do you want to ring your mum?
He keeps asking for his mum and his uncle,
-and "call my mum" he keeps signalling, doesn't he?
-What do you say to him?
-I just have to keep saying I will,
because I can't break the news to him if his family haven't.
I think they're just trying to protect him
and they're worried he'll go backwards
because he's made such good progress.
That must be really hard for you.
It is because it's all he's asked today.
-He's asked me about 40 times today.
-Has he really?
Spelling it out. Spelling "Mum" out. "Call Mum."
'It's an awful situation but I can understand why
'the family are worried the truth may slow down his recovery.'
A-M. "When I am..."
"When am I going?"
When you're a little bit better,
but it won't be long till you get home.
It won't be long. You're making a lot of progress.
Today Courtney Meppen-Walter is back at the police station. He'll find
out if he'll be charged for causing the deaths of Ajmit's mum and uncle.
Are you ready, Courtney? Do you understand why you're here?
'I can see a real difference in him since he's watched the CCTV.
'But a charge could prematurely end his dreams
'of being a Premiership footballer.'
-How are you feeling?
-Just loads of different emotions.
Scared of what? The charge?
Everything. Since it's happened, I'm scared of everything.
It's hard cos I try not to cry for my mum and stuff.
There are two offences that he could face.
The most serious has a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
Are you aware that what you were driving
is basically a two-tonne weapon?
No. When I first started driving, I never would have thought about that.
Like now when I think about it, I wish I never drive...drove, ever.
I wouldn't be bothered if I never was allowed to drive again.
But you have to live with the consequences
of one moment for the rest of your life.
And when you say the rest of your life,
-it actually is the rest of your life.
-The rest of your life.
I just wish I didn't have to go through this.
This it took for me to realise it.
Right, you're charged with the following offences -
on 1st September 2012, the cause of death by driving...
He's been charged with the lesser offence,
but could still go to prison for five years.
Despite what he's done, I can't help feeling some sympathy for Courtney.
I know what it's like to be 18 and to have driven too fast.
My actions left me in my chair. But his have left Harveen
and Ajmit without their mother and uncle.
He's been given the power to kill someone and he doesn't know it.
For me, it's like, you know, a kid picking up a gun and not really
knowing what it could do, and then pulling the trigger.
It's just... He's just a kid and he's going to have to pay for it.
Two weeks later, Courtney pleads guilty.
He'll appear in crown court to find out if he's going to prison.
He's gone from having the world at his feet to risking losing it all,
thanks to one moment of thoughtlessness...
..a moment he'll relive in his head over and over again,
just like I do.
And though I'm happy with my life now, it's not been easy
to accept that all it takes is one single instant
for things to change forever.
-And yourself, Sophie?
Do you like Glasgow so far?
My fiance Tom and I have been together for six years
but he's never seen me walk.
Look at me.
You're very graceful actually, the way you move.
I just want to shout at me. Like, jump in there.
Tell me to stop. Don't get in the car.
Seeing myself like that is weird.
-Does it make you...?
-Makes me sad.
-Watching that again?
I should be walking now, not watching it in a video.
And there shouldn't be parents out there who are watching
their dead kids in videos. This shouldn't be the way it is.
There are lots of ideas on how to bring down the number of accidents
involving young drivers. And a growing campaign to put restrictions
on those who've just passed their test, perhaps by limiting how many
people can be in the car, or how much driving can be done at night.
The Government is seriously considering this as an option.
These kind of restrictions are already
imposed on drivers in countries like America and Australia.
And in Northern Ireland, new drivers can't go faster than 45 mph.
I don't know why people think the answer is to ban young people
from doing more and more things after they've passed their test.
What they're saying is they're going to enforce these restrictions on us.
A solution in my mind is educate people better, from the beginning.
We need to get people behind the car and behind the wheel,
and we need to get us learning from the beginning, experiencing
things like skidding and corrective steering so that they're able to
experience that, actually practise that, before they get on the road.
There are many who argue we should start learning
to drive at a younger age and do it for longer,
and already there are schemes to introduce 16 to 18-year-olds
to the realities and responsibilities
of being on the road.
An initiative set up by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service
called Safe Drive Stay Alive puts on regular shows
that start with the feel of a night out.
With loud music and DJs, it's like having the radio turned up
to the max in your first car...
..but then come hard-hitting films and real-life testimonies
to show what can happen if a driver loses control for just a second.
When they hit the tree, she took full impact at 80 mph.
That girl in that car was my beautiful daughter Kelly.
Every year, I miss her more and more.
And it doesn't get any better.
There are similar events in other parts of the country,
but since this one in Surrey started in 2005,
it's had massive success, helping reduce the fatalities by 70%.
A lot more people should see it
because it's definitely changed the way I think about driving.
I'm going to be a lot more responsible now.
If I have a passenger, I'll definitely make sure that they
wear a seat belt as well as me cos it's my responsibility
of looking after the people in the car.
You have to see that cos it's like an added skill on what you
learn from driving, is to stay aware.
The last thing I remember is holding him in my arms
and begging him not to leave me.
Please, God, don't let him die!
Erik David Rain was 20 years old.
I'd known him since I was five years old,
for 15 years, and he was my best friend.
My only job that night as the driver was to get
the people in my car safely to where they were meant to be going,
and I failed at that.
For the people watching, this is incredibly powerful,
but I think it's exactly what they need, and it works.
This really does save lives.
It makes me angry that I didn't have something like this
when I was learning.
But it makes me happy that young people are learning
and they've got things like this available to them.
It's annoying it's too late for some of us.
Maybe if Courtney Meppen-Walter had better understood
the dangers of driving, he wouldn't be facing prison.
It's six months since the accident,
and Ajmit is continuing his recovery, out of hospital.
He now knows his mum is dead,
and the brothers are living in their new home with their Uncle Gawa.
So how's it been since you've come out of hospital?
-It's been really good.
-You look really, really well.
-Is it nice being in this house?
-Yeah, it is.
-With your brother?
What about you, Harveen?
Did you ever believe he'd make it home?
It's like magic. And he's back to a normal life.
And he can go... he can do, like, normal things.
What do you think of Courtney? Do you think he's a bad man?
As the police said, he didn't want it to be a big accident.
But if he'd drive 30-mile speed, then it's nothing going to happen.
No-one's going to die.
He was just showing off. But he's ruined my family's life,
Gawa's family, my granddad and grandma's family, Kulwan family
About four or five families.
We are just left with the tears.
Every second, every day, every minute,
we are thinking about them and crying.
A week later, it's Courtney's day in court.
Move out the way!
He cried as he listened to the judge
describe the devastation he'd caused.
Courtney was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
It's really hard to watch.
Watching Courtney just sobbing his eyes out, but then also turning
and seeing a widow on the other side.
I'm so conflicted and so torn in how I feel.
It's heartbreaking, it's so horrible.
Everyone involved in a traffic collision is a victim in some way.
There are no winners.
But Courtney can look forward to the day he's back with his family,
maybe playing football, even driving again.
Harveen and Ajmit will never get back what they've lost.
That's where the crash happened, here.
And he hit, he came out of here, didn't he?
I wonder how full he is with regret that he came this way, that he
drove that way, that he...
..that he was where he was, and how he was that night.
I bet he replays it a lot in his head.
At the start of July, after serving just over
a quarter of his 16-month sentence, Courtney was released from prison.
Pictures were tweeted of him smiling as he walked free
and of a poem he is said to have written inside,
about wishing he could turn back the clock.
But later same day the Prison Service admitted
he'd been released in error, so Courtney was sent back
to the prison he thought he'd left for good.
The Singh family said the mistake had only caused them further distress.
But in any case, they don't consider the full sentence to be justice for the two people that died.
I'm back where I started - at a car cruise,
but this one is different.
It's in memory of Ryan Smith, the 18-year-old biker
killed along with Leah Davis in a head-on collision.
Hundreds of Ryan's family
and friends have turned out to remember him.
But it makes me remember ALL the victims of traffic accidents.
Whether they've been hit, or they were driving,
it's such a tragic waste to see so many young lives destroyed
because of one brief, irreversible moment.
Making this film has been the hardest thing I've done
since my accident.
It's taken me back to the most important day of my life
and it's made me re-think it.
The fact is...we aren't preparing people for the road.
We've got to do more so that people like Courtney don't go out
and kill people, and people like me don't go out
and paralyse themselves.
We're just making such terrible mistakes, and they can't be undone.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
After Manchester City player Courtney Meppen-Walter was released from prison in error earlier this month, this powerful documentary follows why he was sent there in the first place, following a traffic collision that killed two members of the same family.
With exclusive interviews and access to that family and to Meppen-Walter himself, it explores why newly qualified drivers are so often at the centre of traffic accidents and why these are the single biggest killer of young people.
Sophie Morgan, whose own crash left her unable to walk, meets people who, like her, have seen their lives changed forever by an accident - whether they were injured, or they were driving the car. As she hears emotional stories of regret and recovery, and finds out what it means to be responsible for a death on the roads, she also discovers one way that the rate of accidents could be brought down and encounters drivers who race illegally on public roads with no thought for anyone's safety. And after a reunion with the passengers she could have killed, she is forced to think again about her own actions - and her driving - back on the night that she crashed.