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Driving Skills, Driving Kills

Posted by Leah C. | Found in: Secondary

Up until this point, I feel as though I’ve been sitting in the passenger seat just glazing over the realities of navigating our world.Soon I will be on the driver’s side.

All through Year 7 I remember sitting in room one, gazing at the clock, the wall and occasionally my work. Surrounding us were many posters, some spouting ‘inspirational’ Disney sayings and others showcasing our class analysis of the beloved film, Shrek.

In stark contrast there were also government-issued bold outliers. In all caps writing that read: “Driving Skills, Driving Kills” coupled with dramatic re-enactment images of car accidents lurking in the background.

They spoke severely of loss and pain, so naturally, as Year 7s, we made fun of them at the time.

Long story short, we know better now.

Just recently the Year 10s have been taking part in a program called Keys for Life. So far, we have explored some of the many technicalities of driving, yet most prominently we have read up about the perils and responsibilities that come with driving.

All of us understood these consequences to some degree, the idea that we held the lives of many in our hands not just our own. But these were jut words on a piece of paper and while they held meaning in their own right, they seemed to lack an essence of reality.

Que, Keith Condor.

Shortly after an assembly last month, we retreated to the privacy of room four for what we assumed would be our normal extended pastoral care lesson. Greeted by a visitor as we came in door, we promptly took our seats and faced the back of the classroom where our speaker sat.

Keith told a gut-wrenching tale that left many in tears and others struggling to hold them back.

He was emerging into adulthood, just 5 years older than most of us now when he was in the car crash that cost him the use of his legs.

We were enthralled by Keith’s telling of the events and it became evident that he wasn’t the only one to lose something that day.

His friend lost something much greater; his life. And Keith? He lost his best friend, but to make it worse, he was the one driving and has to live with that guilt every day of his life.

The reality of what could happen to us and our friends began to sink in.

This story made the consequences seem far too real, too close to home. People can die in cars, it can happen to the best of us, it can happen when we least expect it, and it can happen to us.

According to the Road Safety Commission, as of June 2019, there have already been 84 road fatalities in Western Australia alone. That’s 84 families suffering the loss of a loved one.

It may be an accident or a split-second lapse of judgment, but the consequences will last a lifetime.

Keith reminded us that we hold great responsibility as drivers, and we need to respect that because we can never know what is around the next corner.

Leah C. (Student)