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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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9 September, 2020

Personal tragedy drives road safety message

THE CURTAIN was brought down on a successful Road Safety Week when Longreach Police and vehicle trauma organisation, Citizens Against Road Slaughter (CARS), joined forces to host a free sausage sizzle.

By Hamish Hart

Police and CARS spread road safety awareness to the public in the town’s business centre by handing out nearly 200 sausages, as well as pamphlets which conveyed the story behind CARS ambassador, Judy Lindsay, and her daughter’s tragic demise.

On May 16, 2009, Judy’s 20-year old daughter, Hayley, lost her life after being involved in a two-vehicle collision where one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol.

In a video featuring Ms Lindsay and Queensland Police, Senior Sergeant David Candale detailed the events which took place that night and the unfortunate chain reaction caused as a result.  

“We had a serious traffic accident which involved a group of young people,” Snr Sgt Candale said. “He had told the group he was right to drive. He had severely underestimated how much alcohol he had in his body. He was an adolescent male with minimal driving experience.

“He, with intent, started to swerve along the road. There were people in the car who were telling him to stop what he was doing. They were scared by his behaviour. A wheel popped off the vehicle and he lost control the car, and collided with an oncoming car.

“Unfortunately, an innocent person seated in the back of the car was the one to lose her life, and the rest of the occupants escaped the crash relatively unscathed.  

“Hayley’s story is so important and relevant to young people. You have a young person within the adolescent age group who has lost her life, and you have a group of people within the same age group who have been affected, and certainly their families.

“As a first responder to these jobs, it is terribly hard. It’s one thing you dread and you’re delivering that news to someone else, and you know that news is going to forever change that family.”

Hayley’s mother travelled to Roma, Quilpie, Charleville, Mitchell, Windorah, Jundah, Yaraka, Isisford, Ilfracombe, Longreach, Barcaldine, Alpha, Clermont, Capella, Biloela and Chinchilla during Road Safety Week, promoting the importance of road safety and supporting those affected by its ever-lasting fallout.

Ms Lindsay said the death of her daughter 11 years ago inspired her to promote the message of road safety to rural communities such as Longreach.

“Road safety awareness needs to be promoted everywhere,” she said. “My daughter lost her life to a drunk driver a few years ago and I’m so passionate about it. I want everybody to get on board.

“If someone hops in your car, you’re responsible for their life.

“We get on the road to promote road safety and I met with Queensland Police a few weeks ago to put a video together which has footage of that night where Hayley lost her life. I’m getting on the road, taking it to our rural communities and to all our high schools in Queensland.”

According to the Queensland Government’s Weekly Road Crash Report, there were 161 fatalities from January 1 to August 23 this year as a result of vehicle crashes, an increase of 18.4 per cent when compared to 2019.

Ms Lindsay expressed her disappointment on these statistics, encouraging all to watch her daughter’s story.

“I don’t know why we have so many fatalities,” Ms Lindsay said. “It’s just a lack of concern for the road rules and other people’s lives.

“Think about the choices you make. Watch Hayley’s story and the video we’ve made and it will plant a seed in your brain where, if you go to do something that you know is wrong, hopefully, it will trigger you to think ‘No, don’t do it’.

“Make that better choice because you’re going to save your life and someone else’s.”

Longreach Police thanked Ms Lindsay for her continued support and dedication to promoting road safety.

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