I’ve finally started addressing the topic of dangerous driving.
It’s been eight years (to the day) since I was hit by a car whilst standing in a bus stop. I woke from a month-long coma to learn that I hadn’t been alone. My oldest friend Rebecca had been killed at the scene. My body and brain so badly injured that my life would never be the same. That I would rely upon a wheelchair forever.
I’ve spent those eight years focusing on getting myself better. On not dwelling on what could have been. On dealing with the hand I have been dealt. And I’ve managed to carve a pretty beautiful life for myself out of the most atrocious thing I’ve ever experienced. But there’s one thing I feel needs more attention.
I finally feel mentally healed enough to start addressing something that doesn’t get anywhere near the attention it deserves. Death by dangerous driving seems to be accepted as an unfortunate byproduct of living in a world where we have the power to drive killing machines every day.
This is a very uncomfortable subject for me. I’ve purposely not engaged much whenever someone brings up reckless driving. Or whenever I am asked what punishment the drivers got and how criminals should be treated. I haven’t wanted to spend my years enraged. But as time goes by, I’m finding it impossible to keep quiet.
People admit to breaking the rules of the road all the time. In pubs especially, they boast about having several drinks and driving. Of checking their phone, speeding, and even doing drugs and getting behind the wheel of a car. ‘I got away with it, so what’s the problem?’ This is the only subject I feel extremely triggered by whenever it’s brought up. I can’t just let it fall off my shoulders. I can’t not be bothered.
It’s bad enough that I’m around this. But when it’s your friends who break the law, it’s even harder to deal with. I don’t have the right to say, ‘Hey! Look what happened to me! Don’t do it!’ and expect them to stop in their tracks and say, ‘Shit, yeah, I’m sorry! I’ll drive safely. How could I be so insensitive?’ That’s not how the world works. I can’t expect people, particularly those after a few drinks, to swallow down their ego when someone checks them and say, ‘Oh yeah, you’re right; I shouldn’t drive home. I’ll leave my car here and pick it up in the morning.’
I really don’t want to argue. It’s too close to home and too black and white for me to acknowledge so-called grey areas. The law is there to protect all of us. I see absolutely no reason why anyone should break it. People who receive fines often view it as an inconvenience rather than a reminder to drive safer. It’s the only place where it’s seen as okay to break the law slightly. If someone breaks into your house and only takes one thing, this is still viewed as a serious crime. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for driving offences.
Challenging people and getting it thrown back in my face is painful on so many levels. That’s what happens if I ever build up the courage to say something, knowing that I’m going to get hurt. I end up looking like the bad one who’s made everyone uncomfortable. This is why I’m doing a public speaking course. To potentially educate kids who’re learning to drive. I’m working up the energy to start informing those who will actually listen.
Road traffic injury is the leading cause of death for those aged 5 – 29. Let’s change that.