Support for plan to use Diana in seatbelt adverts

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The Independent Online
SAFETY groups should strive to get the seatbelt-wearing message across "in memory of Princess Diana", a former transport minister said yesterday.

Tory MP Peter Bottomley renewed his calls for a safety campaign after the RAC distanced itself from reports claiming it was behind an advertising campaign based on the princess's death. He said: "We would be betraying her memory if we closed our eyes to what happened in the accident in Paris."

Mr Bottomley was speaking after the RAC refuted any suggestion that it had been planning, or would mount, a seatbelt campaign based on the crash which killed the princess.

But Mr Bottomley said: "Whether or not Diana's name is used or not, it would be good to campaign to reduce deaths caused by the non-wearing of seatbelts."

It is thought that the princess might have survived the Paris death crash last year had she been wearing a rear seatbelt.

On Sunday, the RAC was reported as saying that the public would support the idea of a seatbelt campaign based on the Paris crash which also killed Dodi Fayed and the car's driver, security man Henri Paul.

However, yesterday, the RAC's David Worskett said: "The RAC wished to make it absolutely clear that reports it intends to run a seatbelt campaign based on the death of the Princess of Wales are untrue. No such campaign is planned or will be mounted."

He added: "In response to questions from the Sunday Times earlier this month, an RAC spokesman said that the RAC was aware of proposals by other safety organisations to consider such a campaign.

"The RAC's view was that this would be highly sensitive and would need to depend on the acceptability of such an approach from the public and from the late princess's office. Subsequent reporting by the Sunday Times and by the Daily Mail seriously misrepresents and misquotes the RAC."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents had said it feared a campaign would clash with public feeling on such a scale that it would be counterproductive.

And the Association of Chief Police Officers had also been reluctant to welcome the initiative. A spokesman said: "We are all for campaigns to encourage people to use rear seatbelts but this idea needs more thought."

n Shoppers were slow to buy tubs of margarine carrying the signature of Diana, Princess of Wales, today when they went on sale for the first time yesterday.

The special tubs of Flora, with the word "Thanks" in big letters on the top, is the first product to carry the official logo commemorating the princess.Many shoppers outside Tesco's store in Pimlico, south-west London, said they were unaware of the fund-raising cartons. James Foster, 31, a fund manager, said: "It would not persuade me to buy it. But I don't find it offensive because presumably the people responsible for the fund have given permission to raise money in this way. Also the money raised will be going to the fund."

But Mary Ashworth, 50, said the idea was a "tacky" insult.