(Second in Series)


John Gavin


Have Australians become bereft of innovation? Was it not once a trait peculiar to Oz? Let it be seen that Automobile Associations and the Department of Traffic and Main Roads in Queensland, at least, do something. Other States will then be sure to follow. Does not repetition or revision have any purpose in education?

These are the reasons why Australia needs a driver education program, one  that is on-line, perhaps published in a book or by use of the media. Why would it not be possible for one of the many free-to-air television channels to provide interactive training on a daily basis?

Have you ever wondered what life is like for those persons who have caused a death?  Let us assume the death was unintentional and not one that was premeditated. Do they quietly go on their way; apparently oblivious to the fact they have caused a death?

PiandO can tell you that it is not possible to cause a death without that stigma haunting you for the rest of your life. We know many who have unfortunately caused death by accident. There are others who have caused death, initially with malice aforethought but have come to regret it.

Does it matter how the death was caused? Was it the irresponsible driving of the motor vehicle? Or was it without any fault by the driver at all?  Exposure to injury or death in the armed services can often be given the label of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.)  Many servicemen and women suffer from that syndrome at some stage; police, ambulance personnel, fire-fighters, medical practitioner’s nurses and staff are included,  just to mention a few.

We all know about or have heard about that. Let us take another group. If you are reaching the age where you are about to start driver training to obtain your licence to drive a motor car, there are things you should know. To understand what is assumed is that the reader is at least of average intelligence.

Additionally, it will be necessary for you to understand the word “discipline” and what it means. Hopefully you will have learned how to impose self-discipline at school. It cannot be overemphasised that any failings in that respect may mean your death or the death of others.

You can ask people who have been involved. Normally they will not talk about it. That is part of human nature. A soldier or former soldier may be coaxed into a discussion. One subject that is taboo is a death that they believe they have caused. It is a mammoth effort to get them to discuss that. Sometimes, when they are ready and importantly believe they are speaking to a sympathetic and understanding person, they will open up. What they say then may shock you.

Criminals, lawbreakers and the other dregs of society need to be handled in a similar fashion, initially. There is no “guilt” admitted in their cases; only a desire to avoid gaol. Handled with care, a spontaneous confession may be the outcome. Civil rights movements today will frown on the practice but in the end, it may be that “Good Cop” and “Bad Cop” need to be called in. Some coercion is often needed.

Student driver, remember that a licence entitles you to drive a car, responsibly. If you wish to do “wheelies,” speed when it is unsafe, or break the law while driving it is you who are responsible for the consequences. You and you alone.

So it is important for you to remember should during your deviant behaviour, you kill somebody, whether it be a pedestrian or the driver of another car or your current girlfriend riding with you, you are the one who is solely responsible. Before appearing before the Coroner in the Coroner’s Court (He/she is a person with more power than you have ever dreamed of.) there will be others you have to face. The police and heaven forbid the “Good Cop” and “Bad Cop.”

Then there will be the parents, a husband or wife, your former friends; yes, they too will hold you responsible. If you are imprisoned, don’t forget that many of your fellow inmates will be displeased. Words such as bashing, torture and rape come to mind.

If that calamity, a fatality occur when you are not exercising “discipline” you may happen look to your girlfriend in the passenger seat. She may be unmarked until you look at her hair. Imagine her without a scalp, the lifeless brain exposed. Would you like to know more? PiandO can tell, you.

You may even have the opportunity to visit the city mortuary. It is unlikely you will be shown the dissecting room or the refrigerated cabinets. You will hopefully only be there to identify the body. It will be covered with a sheet and the sheet will only be moved aside to show you the relevant parts for identification. Parts may include tattoos or scars wherever they may be.

Then, don’t forget, for the rest of your life until the day you die, if in the meantime you don’t seek and welcome the relief of dementia, you will live with your thoughts and guilt.

Another thing you must remember is that a frequent cause of the death of infant children occurs in the driveway of their own home. The iniquitous four-wheel-drive, co-incidentally is often but not solely the cause.

When a vehicle is moved into reverse gear, the driver forfeits all rights and responsibility. When in reverse gear, the ability to exercise strict discipline becomes paramount. 

There is much more to understanding not only a motor vehicle, but the driver as well. On comparison of a student driver of a motor vehicle with the student pilot of an aircraft, the difference is abundantly clear, A student pilot is required to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the machine they will be using, demonstrate physical and mental health with emphasis on vision.

The student pilot will take their first solo flight after a number of hour’s instruction by a Flying Instructor and following additional hours flying solo ( in command of the aircraft) the instructor will determine when the student pilot is examined for a private pilots licence.

That is not the end. For the rest of their flying career they will be medically examined, frequently and at least annually and required to satisfy the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of a continuing capacity to fly. A high degree of responsibility and self-imposed discipline is necessary to hold a licence.

You will see that some aspects of both a drivers and pilots licence are similar. That is where all similarity ends. Either machine is dangerous if improperly handled and more fatalities occur on the roads than in flying. It may be that disciplined responsibility is more common in the air.

It is now time to address the “experienced” driver or those who have held licences for a time. The individual should take into consideration the period that has lapsed since refreshing their knowledge of driving and the motor car. Equally as important is your knowledge of current law. How long is it since you have refreshed your so-called ability? To claim “I have been driving for forty years and never had an accident,” means nought when there is a death.

The scary part is that those so called “experienced” drivers, the very ones who drive to work, the ladies driving kid’s to school, quite frequently in a four-wheel-drive truck; and the ones you find in shopping centres. Their credentials are at best vague, it is doubtful if they have refreshed their driving ability other than do a four-wheel-drive off-road course. These are the very ones who teach their children, the young learners. Young people must be studiously learning the bad-habits of their elders.

The contents of this article are not exaggerated in any way. What is said is fact. Perhaps it will help a reader, regardless of age or sex, understand that to drive a motor car they have an irrevocable responsibility to exercise discipline throughout their driving life.

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(This article examines the dangers of irresponsible driving. It is intended to highlight the need for discipline to be continually exercised while in charge of a motor vehicle. It has examined some and only some of the issues that determine the ability of a person to drive. These include mental and physical considerations; the ability to learn from the written word and the need for discipline.)­

Page 4: Road Safety