Tragedy brings it all back
IN THE wake of the horrific weekend car crash in Melbourne that claimed five young lives and left another seriously injured, Southern Cross LADS founder Rob Wells yesterday urged state governments around the country to adopt new education campaigns for provisional drivers.
“People are getting complacent again after the road toll started to fall two years ago, but it’s on the way up again and there have been 63 deaths on our roads already over the last 18 days,” he said.
Mr Wells said the crash involving a P-plate driver in Victoria on Sunday morning was distressingly similar to the accident that claimed the life of his 17-year-old son Bryce and three of his mates at Broken Head in 2006.
“It brings it all back. It’s not something that you can escape,” he said.
Mr Wells, who has been campaigning to reduce the road toll since losing his son, was a member of the NSW Government’s Young Drivers Advisory Committee bef-ore it was disbanded late last year.
One of the committee’s successes was having a law adopted that prohibits P-plate drivers in NSW carrying more than one passenger between 11pm and 5am.
A similar law was passed in Victoria last July.
However, Mr Wells said younger drivers who do not remember the Broken Head crash don’t understand the importance of the changes and were likely to ignore it.
Yesterday he said it was crucial governments educate P-plate drivers about road rules and why it was important to limit the number of passengers they carry.
“Young people are inexperienced drivers and can be easily distracted, particularly if you have a lot of people in the car and have the radio going,” Mr Wells said.
Victorian police said the car in Sunday’s crash was seen travelling at 140km/h before it hit a large tree.
The uncle of an 18-year killed in the crash and his 15-year-old seriously injured sister yesterday said speeding cars driven by young people should be confiscated and crushed.
“These kids have just got to slow down, that’s all,” Santo Sutera said. “I honestly believe it’s not the car that kills people, it’s people beh-ind the wheel.
“Just get rid of the car, that will make them think twice.”
Assistant Commissioner Ken Lay yesterday conceded that State’s anti-hoon laws did not appear to be working.
“This is a desperately sad situation,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Wells said recent statistics reinforced the need for a new campaign.
According to the George Institute, a 17-year-old driver with a provisional licence is four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver aged over 26 years, with speed the main culprit.