Back in late 2011, my high school mates and I used to hold on to moving cars whilst skating on longboards. In regional NSW with nothing to do, it seemed like a pretty good way to spend a Saturday. However, one weekend, we just stopped doing it, and we never went back. It was after a kid at another Wagga Wagga school died. According to reports from the time, he was skating, holding onto a car, slipped, hit the road hard, and was killed at the scene.
We didn’t play with that fire after that. Nevertheless, my friends did occasionally speed.
Now, I was on my L’s at the time, and still am actually, so I was never responsible for the safety of my pals. But I’ve definitely been in the back seat of a crummy car playing Bathurst 1000 going down Willans Hill. I’ve been driven by an 18-year-old who could have caused a newspaper-worthy accident.
I’ll defend the sparkler bombs, I’ll defend high diving out of gumtrees into murky Murrumbidgee water. But some of the car rides I went through straight up should have never happened. Moreover, the lineage of speeding teenagers needs to be severed.
How Do We Stop This Epidemic?
On August 7, an 18-year-old named Tyrell Edwards was the sole survivor of a car crash in Buxton, NSW. The Nissan ute he was driving smashed into a tree. Five other teenagers died in the crash. According to the ABC, Edwards has since been charged and denied bail.
“This is one of those crashes that will devastate a community for life, the cost is unimaginable, to families, to the community, to the schools,” Professor Rebecca Ivers told the Sydney Morning Herald. The injury prevention expert also stated, “It is a cocktail of risk factors, absolutely deadly, yet completely predictable.”
Ivers has some suggestions for how we can decrease the number of teenagers that get into car accidents. She stated that there would be fewer crashes if we increased the number of speed cameras and increased the number of educational programs that teenagers attend.
However, while these ideas are great first steps, we need some fresh ideas. We need some new programs that will stop teenage boys from killing their mates. Because frankly, you can’t put speed cameras everywhere. Moreover, I’m not sure how receptive I would have been to another educational program in high school.
It perturbs me that I have no clue of what else we could do to reduce the number of teenage driving deaths. But that just speaks to how ingrained P plate hooligan culture is. All I know is that complacency isn’t the answer and that this problem isn’t going to resolve on its own.