Strike fear into a teenage driver heart
By CRAIG McTEAR
A TEENAGER is dead, another becomes a paraplegic and their driver faces serious charges.
This was the scenario in a mock accident rescue at the Young Drivers' Expo at Coffs Harbour Racing Club.
The expo, which started on Tuesday and ends today, is being attended by more than 750 students from seven high schools. They're learning valuable lessons about being a responsible driver and passenger.
The emergency exercise which launched the program involved three young people driving off from an end-of-HSC party and heading up Bucca Road.
The P-plate driver, who has been drinking, loses control and rolls the car twice. The rear passenger ? his best mate ? isn't wearing a seatbelt and is flung from the vehicle. He is pronounced dead at the scene.
The front female passenger is unconscious. She suffers serious spinal injuries and later discovers she will never walk again.
The driver suffers minor injuries after initially being trapped. He is later breath-tested and returns a reading of .08. He is also charged with dangerous driving occasioning death.
The scene was made even more realistic for the startled onlookers with the arrival of police, SES, ambulance and fire brigade vehicles under lights and sirens.
The 'driver', 17-year-old Tim Gilbert, said the lesson for him had been not to drive recklessly.
"It's also great to see what the emergency services do," Tim said.
His Orara High schoolmate, 16-year-old Phillip Briggs, was the 'deceased passenger'.
"It demonstrated how scary these situations are. People can die in accidents," Phillip said.
"We may be acting here, but it's real out there."
Coffs Harbour mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, told the crowd the course would 'help to save your life'.
"It's about making you think about your actions driving a car," he said.
Cr Rhoades, who has attended many accidents as a NSW Fire Brigades officer, also said: "I don't want you to see what I've seen on the roads."