A heartbroken mum who lost her son and his wife in a “freak” car accident believes that back seat airbags could have saved their lives.
Kyle Khan, 26, and Meesha Afzal, 22, were in the back of their friend’s Mercedes A200 when it smashed into a brick wall on Warwick Road, Solihull.
Now, Kyle’s mum Roshni Sajida Yousaf is campaigning for the “compulsory” fitting of airbags in the back of all vehicles by manufacturers across the motoring industry.
She also started a Government petition to raise awareness surrounding back seat airbags and launched a campaign through a GoFundMe appeal.
“I want to see airbags for all passengers on the back seat to make them safer and save lives,” Roshni, 51, told BirminghamLive.
“I want the back seat passengers to be safe just like the front two. Otherwise it’s like a lottery gamble or Russian roulette.
“The front two have their belts and the airbags, but what have back seat passengers got? In many cars they just have their belts.
“If you hit your head and/or neck against the head rest on the seat in front with force you are not going to survive it.
“We should feel safe in the back of a car.”
The couple’s friends, the driver and front seat passenger, suffered “serious but not life-threatening injuries” in the crash, near the junction with Gentleshaw Lane.
Post-mortem examinations found Meesha, a carer, died from head and neck injuries, while Kyle, a courier driver, died from a head injury.
An inquest – which was opened and adjourned in December – was told that the car “may have travelled in excess of the speed limit.”
The investigation by West Midlands Police is still open and ongoing 10-months after the tragedy.
In 2019 there were more than 730 deaths of car users in Great Britain, according to the latest figures from the Government’s Department for Transport.
There were 508 car drivers killed, while 138 people were killed as a result of sitting on the front passenger seat and 86 from being on the back seat.
“They (Kyle and Meesha) were lifted up, pushed forward and went back. It was a freak accident,” Roshni added.
“The car mounted the pavement and hit the wall. The front two suffered injuries, but the back two died when they were wearing seat-belts. For what reason?
“What a waste of life. Why not make it compulsory to put air bags in the back?”
She said Kyle’s belongings are still with police as she continues to try to come to terms with what has happened.
“To have any form of closure I need to know what happened, how it happened and who is responsible,” she said.
“It’s been 10-months and I’m a grieving parent. I need to put this in the past.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson told BirminghamLive: “This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts are with the families of Meesha and Kyle.
“While there is no legal requirement for airbags in any seating position, many vehicle manufacturers use them as part of an integrated safety package to meet regulatory safety performance requirements and obtain a high marking in consumer rating tests.
“Vehicles originally fitted with an airbag will fail their annual roadworthiness test (MOT) where a vehicle examiner finds an airbag is obviously missing or defective, or where an indicator lamp is illuminated indicating a system malfunction.”
A Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman said were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic incident which killed the couple last year.
The automotive firm said that front airbags are standard across their range. It has a selection of rear airbags in vehicles, including side airbags and window airbags, depending on the model.
Airbag development started at Mercedes-Benz in 1966, while the first driver airbag to reach production was in the 126-series S-Class in 1980.
Last year it was announced that the Mercedes S-Class features the “world’s first airbag for rear-seat passengers.”