FFS! Our Sons Need to Wake the Hell Up Before They Get Behind a Wheel!
Imagine you have a 20-something year old son. You’ve raised him well to be a responsible, contributing member of society. He’s got a great job, savings in the bank, a nice car, a girlfriend and a ton of great mates he’s grown up with that you know like the back of your hand. His entire future is laid out in front of him.
And then he does something incredibly stupid. Despite everything he knows and has been warned against, he has too much to drink and gets behind the wheel of a car, tragedy strikes and someone dies.
Not only is his entire world turned upside down but so is yours.
Twice now this has happened to families that I know well. Kids that my kids have grown up with. And it’s happened in the space of 18 months.
The first young man is currently serving 6 years in prison for drinking and hooning which caused the death of another mate.
The second had a car full of his mates and drove after drinking through a stop sign, and crashed into a family travelling in the opposite direction causing a death to a member of that family.
Both these young men were pillars of the community. Both of them knew better. Both of them did it anyway. They are both devastated and have to live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives and their families are going through hell. They’ve shut down their social media networks and have gathered their wagons around their sons trying to protect them from the fierce onslaught of rage and anger thrown their way, mostly from people who don’t even know them.
The first family faced a long legal battle, expensive lawyers, court dates and now have to spend their weekends travelling back and forth to a prison to see their son. He will have a record for life and will probably struggle to find a job when he’s eventually released. The second has all of this and more hanging over their heads in the months to come.
This, of course, is in addition to the absolute horror caused to the innocent people who died and their families who have to go on without them. These young men are still alive and walking the streets and no matter what penalty is bestowed upon them, nothing can give the other families back their loved ones.
You would think that the brutal, graphic campaigns on television would be enough to stop them. You would think that the harsh penalties would make them think twice. With taxis, trains, buses and Uber available why are they STILL choosing to get behind a wheel?
What’s worse and really astounds me is that two mates of the first guy have lost their licences for reckless driving since burying one of their mates and visiting the other behind bars. Those lessons STILL weren’t enough to make them think twice.
And prior to that, I ended up in a full-blown argument with a mutual mate of theirs on Facebook who thought it was his God given right to do burn-outs and race in the streets. When I told him he was putting innocent lives in jeopardy and if he was serious about driving fast cars to take it to a racetrack he got angry and replied that race tracks weren’t always open or convenient to him and then told me it was none of my fucking business.
And this attitude is everywhere. Just two nights ago my husband was driving his truck, at night, when a car of young men pulled up beside him and threw a full container of McDonald’s coke at his half rolled down window before speeding off at a great rate of knots laughing hilariously. That truck and trailer was 50 tonnes of steel on wheels that could have crashed and caused untold damage and/or deaths.
What is with these young men? Are they trying to prove that they’re ‘men’ by showing what they think is bravado behind a wheel? Do they think they’re invincible? Probably a bit of both. But if you can’t learn a lesson from the tragedies that happen to your own mates what hope is there?
Do we put immobilizers in every vehicle males under 30 drive? Do we hold off giving them licences until they’re 25? Do we raise the age of drinking? Do we build more accessible race tracks to give them somewhere to go to race?
How do we teach our kids that this is utterly unacceptable?