Tim Nolan has been an Ambulance Paramedic with the Metropolitan Ambulance Service, Melbourne for over 15 years. His story comes from very real experience.
Hi, I’m Tim Nolan. I have been an Ambulance Paramedic with the Metropolitan Ambulance Service, Melbourne for over 15 years and have worked at branches right throughout the Metropolitan area. Currently I’m based at Rosebud Branch. I am also a Driving Instructor for Ambulance Service Victoria.
As a group we are disgusted that young drivers dying in road accidents at an alarming rate, seemingly having no regard for themselves, their passengers or other road users. The behavior exhibited by young drivers is unacceptable. Ask yourself, are you going to be one of these people when you get to drive?
This presentation shows you the consequences of driving, As a driver you will be responsible for the decisions you make. All of these decisions have consequences.
You are now approaching the time where you will find yourselves with responsibilities you have not had before and you need to know what you are in for, however unpleasant it may be. Welcome to the real world!
Let’s talk about Road Accidents! Would it surprise you to know that there is no such thing as a road accident?
The Dictionary says:
An accident is “an unforeseen event or one without apparent cause.” (New Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus 1991, reprint page 7)
Anybody can steer a car and operate some pedals but how many licensed drivers out there can actually drive?
How many drivers give 100% concentration to the task of driving!
How many anticipate all traffic situations and regulate their speed accordingly? Not as many as you think.
I hear you saying, no-one can concentrate for 100%, all the time that they are driving! That’s exactly my point! No one said driving is easy!
Therefore, with this in mind, there is no such thing as a Road Accident! A collision occurs because someone has caused it. That someone is the driver of a motor vehicle. It’s that simple! When these collisions occur, the injuries and death that follow are called Road Trauma.
We are human, we do make mistakes, but when we complicate simple mistakes with inexperience, alcohol, speed, dangerous behavior, showing off or distractions inside and outside the vehicle then one mistake, for some people, is all it takes and someone will die!
How do we get the message across so that you realise that this is serious stuff?
Telling you about a true incident might help!
Some of you may even know of this incident or of the victims involved. They may have even been your friends.
In 1999, I attended an “accident” involving two cars and a semi trailer at the Stony Point Rd intersection in Hastings. Initial reports to us indicated that there was at least one person dead and several people trapped. It took us nearly 15 minutes to get there and we were the first ambulance to arrive.
As we approached the scene, I could see there was debris spread for the best part 100 metres along the road. The semi trailer was loaded with a bulldozer and both were on their side up ahead. There was a small blue car on the wrong side of the road facing the wrong way and another car off the road in a ditch.
There were people everywhere but strangely only one person near any of the vehicles. This man came up to me as I approached the blue car. He said something like “they’re both dead”. I can’t remember his exact words because at the same time that he was talking to me I looked into the car and couldn’t believe my eyes.
What I could see was one occupant with its skull smashed open and the brain completely missing! This person was definitely dead!
The front passenger door was open and I could see another occupant (a young girl) in the front seat. The dead person, the driver of the car, also a young girl, was half on top of the passenger. I had to move her long blonde hair that was still attached to the broken section of her skull out of my way to see if the passenger was alive. She had the driver’s brains sprayed all over her face and in her hair.
She was starting to groan. I called out to my partner and we went to work to save her life. We estimated this girl was aged between 15 and 20 years old. She was only 16.
While I was working, there was a noise inside the car that was starting to annoying me. The ignition was still on and an alarm buzzer was sounding. I reached towards the key to turn it off and I realized that it was in front of the passenger. The car was so severely crushed, the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car. We got her out of the car, treated her and flew her to the Alfred Hospital by Helicopter.
I can’t remember the injuries that this girl had. The vision of that young driver is so vivid, even today, it will stay with me for many years.
Just take a second now and put yourself in the position of this passenger – look at the person next to you!
After checking all the other people involved in the accident and the bystander that assisted, I went back to the car to take notes. It was a brand new car, the right side of the car did not exist. The liver that belonged to the driver was on the ground outside the car. I could not see any part of the right hand side of her body or her legs.
What a mess. No wonder nobody wanted to go near that car! I’m glad I couldn’t see the rest of her!
What caused the crash?
The crash happened at a major intersection. The view of on coming traffc was clear for 700 metres to the right and for more than a kilometre to the left. It was a dry road and the sun would not have blinded the driver at that time of day. The blue car was facing a “GIVEWAY” sign before the collision.
- Did the driver of this car “GIVEWAY”?
- Did she look before driving into the path of a semi trailer travelling at 100 kmh?
- What distracted her the second before she died?
- Was just one mistake all it took for a young inexperienced driver to die that day!
This girl was only 18 years old and had gotten her licence just a few days before!
So why do crashes happen?
Concentrating on driving properly is hard enough. It’s harder still when there is other stuff happening inside the car. Getting your licence doesn’t teach you this!
Think about this…
Drivers “choose” to crash!
Drivers that crash cause road trauma!
Collisions often occur several minutes before the impact – most people don’t recognize the mistakes that are occurring.
Have you heard the term “an accident waiting to happen”?
Just watch how people drive and the risks they take. Even as a passenger, you should be able to see mistakes that are happening. You can say something and it might just keep you and your friends alive.
In most cases, when these drivers crash, they will tell you it was “someone else’s fault”!
So what’s the message?
As you begin to drive, please take the chance to learn properly. Think about the mistakes you will make, hopefully you will get the opportunity to learn from them.
You will get your licence, however, if you learn to get your licence, there’s a good chance that you still can’t drive! I ask you now “What type of Driver will you be?” Because you do have a choice!
At your age and with your lack of experience there is a very high risk that:
- If you are distracted or lose concentration, you will cause Road Trauma!
- If you show off or drive dangerously, you will cause Road Trauma!
- If you drink and drive, you will cause Road Trauma!
Driving is not a right! It is a responsibility, can you accept it?
Please think about it and …