Only 48 Seconds
My name is Skye Noble and on the 21st November 1998 my brother Tim was killed in a car accident in Frankston, Victoria. Two of Tim’s friends also died in the accident after accepting a lift to the local Primary school, only a couple of minutes away. The driver was a boy my brother and his friends went to school with, he was only 17 years of age and was unlicensed at the time.
Tim and his friends were making their way up to the Derinya Primary School in Frankston where they were going skating and to shoot the potato gun they had just made. By chance a car pulled up beside them and offered them a lift – it was only a short walk, however, it was all uphill and they had a heavy container filled with potatoes to fire. This simple decision to get into the car proved fatal – it was the last decision my brother was to make. In total there were 8 boys in the car, 2 in the front, 4 along the back seat and 2 in the luggage compartment. The driver sped up the street, and allegedly began to swerve the car from side to side – the speeding, swerving and the weight of 8 passengers in the car was just too much to handle and in time he had lost control. He hit a tree at almost 100 kilometres an hour, the car flipped around and ended up with it’s back up against a fence.
My brother was seated by the right-hand passenger door and received almost the full impact of the crash – he died instantly. My brother as a result of the reckless actions of the driver sustained 6 fatal injuries – any one of those alone would have killed him.
The driver was charged with 3 counts of culpable driving- which comes just under manslaughter in the severity of crimes – and I count of negligently causing grievous bodily harm. The driver pleaded guilty to all 4 criminal charges and was sentenced to 2 years in a juvenile detention centre. The sentence would most probably have been a lot more severe had he not plead guilty to the charges, as the maximum sentence for culpable driving is 20 years imprisonment.
I know you will be sitting there thinking that this will never happen to me. I know – because I have always thought that too. You see my dad was involved in a building accident 8 years ago and is now a paraplegic. I always thought that my families bad luck had been used up and that nothing else would ever happen to my family again – but I was wrong and so are all of you if you think tragedy can’t touch you. Your whole world can be ripped apart in an instant and you or your parents are left with the aftermath of absolute shock and disbelief.
We are all here today to try and impress to all of you the enormity and the extent of a road accident. It doesn’t just affect the families and friends, the pain and grief ripples all through the community. Everyday these guy’s deal with another accident, another death, another TRAGEDY. Everyday I deal with Tim’s crash, Tim’s death and my family’s tragedy.
So many of these tragedies can be avoided – so many of them are just caused by stupid mistakes. All of us make mistakes now and then – it’s natural we are not all perfect – BUT we need to be perfect on the roads – one slip and you could kill or injury yourself, your mates or other drivers on the roads. You guys aren’t invincible – death can come so quickly to all of us. So I beg you – if you are planning to take needless risks on the road please think of you’re families and friends and how they would cope if you never came home that night. And if you are carrying passengers PLEASE think of them and their families – Could you live with yourself if you killed your best mates?
You as drivers have a duty of care to those people in your car- they expect you to deliver them to their destination alive and in one piece. I know my brother expected this of the boy who took his life – it is a simple expectation isn’t it? As a driver you also have a responsibility to see that your passengers are wearing seat belts.
What I really want to emphasise is – don’t justify your stupid actions by saying you are only going around the corner, or to end of the street, whether it be that you have been drinking, or that you are piling heaps of people in the car or that you just want to take mum’s car for a quick spin – my brother was in the car for only 48 seconds – that was all it took for somebody to steal him away from me for ever.