The Beagle Editor,
I’m reading a lot of commentary about the recent increase in car crashes along the Kings Highway, and everyone’s opinion.
The Police, who are the ones keeping the data, provide the five main reasons for fatalities and injuries on our roads:
1. Driver distraction (mobile phones etc)
2. Driver fatigue
3. Drivers under the influence
4. Drivers speeding
5. Not wearing seatbelts
Those are the top five reasons for fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. Not the road, not the trees next to the road and not people driving under the speed limit.
Yes our numbers of fatalities are declining, but I personally believe that’s because the safety of our vehicles is becoming better. While fatalities are declining, serious injuries still continue.
Any car travelling higher than 60km in a crash is considered a high speed crash. So even travelling at the sign posted limit, speed can still impact you.
It doesn’t matter how great a driver you, you share the road with people who do the wrong thing. Their actions will impact you.
I’ve been hit by a drug driver. She was high on ICE and was sentenced to five years in prison, three years non-parole. She has since been released on parole.
We survived because we had our seatbelts on, our car was reasonably modern and had access to quick recovery and medical intervention. We were travelling at 100km/hr, the speed limit. Imagine the difference if we were travelling at 110?
The physical and psychological trauma she caused hasn’t stopped. My son was 13 at the time. He has spent the past four years recovering from five surgeries in physio, hydrotherapy and countless hours in the gym and therapy. He is still working to recover everything she took away from him. He was a promising footballer at the time. It was taken away from him.
While he works to get back to where he was, I work with Canberra Health Services to help minimise risk taking behaviour in youth via their PARTY Program. I engage with media and have supported blood donation and policing/road safety campaigns.
I donate blood products despite the significant psychological and physical distress it causes my body.
The volume of crap we have to endure post crash with the insurance company is something I never wish upon anyone. They forget we didn’t ask to be in that crash and we’d give anything to go back in time and be at home that day.
I can still taste, smell, feel, see and hear everything about that day.
The words of the retrieval doctor telling me I can’t go in the helicopter with my son. The feel of the seatbelt restricting my movement. The sound of my shirt being cut off. The sound of my door being cut off. The heat of the day. The sound of being told to close my eyes. The smell of the ambulance. The sight of my motionless son.
The other things I won’t forget is the trauma nurse and doctor trying to tell me what’s happening with my son. The tears on the fire and rescue team when they saw my son alive. They student nurse who comforted my son before emergency services arrived. My son’s surgeon calling the operating theatre upgrading the urgency of his final surgery. The smell of my son in hospital.
Our cars and roads are major weapons and need to be treated that way. Be safe on the road. I’d rather you arrived 30 minutes late than not at all.
I beg everyone to please respect the weapon you’re in, respect other road users. Drive to survive.
Not all of us have a right to a driver license. But we all have a right to use the roads free from harm. TJ Campagna Recovery