Rob Wells (left) and Peter Luckett of the Southern Cross Learn About Driving Skills group look at the plans for the defensive driving centre.
Rob Wells (left) and Peter Luckett of the Southern Cross Learn About Driving Skills group look at the plans for the defensive driving centre. Jay Cronan

Rob still lives son's death

IT has been five years to the day since Rob Wells' life was turned upside down.

He is the father of Bryce Wells, one of four boys who died when a car driven by a P-plater lost control and crashed into a tree on Broken Head Rd in 2006.

The crash made the front pages of newspapers and led nightly TV news bulletins.

But the impact of the tragedy never faded due to Mr Wells' relentless determination.

This week the NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat released a review into young driver behaviour.

He recommended an 11pm-5am curfew on Friday and Saturday nights and a one-passenger limit for provisional drivers.

The recommendations, announced only four days before the fifth anniversary of the Broken Head crash, echoed those made by Mr Wells after the accident.

"It's good to get that backup of what I was pushing for five years ago," he said.

"I was on the young driver advisory board and one of the things I was pushing for was one passenger in the first 12 months.

"Kids don't see the risk of carrying four or five people in the car when they are a novice driver. You have to be concentrating on the car.

"They should concentrate on the driving instead of the peripherals around them."

Mr Wells and the families of the Goonellabah boys - Corey New, Paul Morris and Mitchell Eveleigh - formed Southern Cross Learn About Driving Skills (LADS), a driver-education organisation, in 2007.

The group bought a 20 hectare block of land near Lismore for a driver-education facility but it is still in the early planning stages.

"We were doing some fundraising and it was going well and we had a big donation, which allowed us to buy a block of land," Southern Cross LADS treasurer Peter Luckett said.

The Southern Cross LADS epiphany came not long after the crash.

"As soon as I got his death certificate," Mr Wells said.

"We never got to see Bryce. The kid should not have died that way.

"And the driver should not have been in that situation. All the statistics show they are the worst drivers in the world, then why not let them carry one passenger for those first 12 months until they learn how to drive a motor vehicle."

Mr Wells said today would just be a quiet day for him and his family.

"The worst days are the anniversaries, the birthdays and family gatherings; there is always one missing," he said.

"That is the hardest part and you look back at what potential they could have had. I could not say goodbye to my son."



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