OPINION: When will we realise we're not invincible?

THERE'S something about sitting across from a seasoned crash investigator as he details the worst fatal crashes he's attended which brings you back down to Earth.

Something which reminds you our emergency services are real people who deal with real situations many of us think only exist in movies.

Last week, I sat down with Wide Bay Forensic Crash Unit Sergeant Steve Webb to discuss recent crashes which claimed the lives of five people in 12 days.

Of his 36 year career as a police officer, 25 have been spent working as a crash investigator and in that time, he's attended more crashes than he can count.

He's attended crashes involving children, families, parents and even ones which involved his own loved ones.

The emotions displayed on his face and heard in his voice tells only too much about the frustration he feels when he hears another person has been killed on our roads.

These accidents are preventable and no one should have a loved one ripped away from them because of pure naivety.

I came to respect our emergency services even more than before when I attended my first fatal crash in Torbanlea last month.

I'd left work on a Sunday afternoon and settled down on the couch at home when a colleague messaged me to say there'd been reports of a fatal crash.

I immediately put my work clothes back on and headed to the office where I was picked up by our photographer, Alistair Brightman and headed to the scene.


Almost immediately, we were met with a hysterical young girl who thought she knew the person killed.

She and her mother desperately asked us if we knew any details but unfortunately, we were just as much in the dark as they were.

We walked up the embankment towards the edge of the Bruce Highway and spotted the car which had been involved in the accident and it was unlike any other crash I'd seen before.

Flashing lights from emergency vehicles lit up the sky and a spot light directed on the car revealed a blanket on the driver's side.

The body was still inside.

It didn't properly comprehend someone's mother, sister, daughter was in that car until I spotted the young girl from earlier in the evening walking away from a police officer crying even more hysterically than before.

At the time, I was chatting with a woman who lived nearby and heard the crash but I abruptly stopped the conversation and made my way over to the girl.

She told me the person killed was, in fact, someone she knew.

"She was like a mum to me," the girl told me in between gasps for breath.

All I could do was hold her as she cried into my chest and hope it was all a nightmare she would eventually wake up from.

When will road users realise they are not invincible?

When will we understand how easily a person's life can be taken away and that all it takes is a split second of inattention to be tragically killed?

Don't let the kiss you give your mother or father on the cheek before you head out on the roads be the last.

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