Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Please be safe on roads, teen pleas

Cobram Courier administration assistant PAIGE SUNDERLAND is all too familiar with the devastation road trauma brings to family, friends and communities. Here, she shares a plea to drivers in her own words ...

PAIGE SUNDERLAND December 14, 2012 5:00am

Paige Sunderland wants people to avoid tragedy on our roads.

My name is Paige Sunderland.

I’m a 19-year old girl who was born in Numurkah but grew up in both south-east Melbourne and in the Goulburn Valley area.

I am writing about how every time there is a tragic car accident, I panic about who it could be and if I knew them.

This is mainly because since the age of 14 to 15 I have been to six different friend’s funerals — friends who have all died in tragic car accidents which could have been avoided.

Not every car accident is caused by a probationary-licensed driver and not every P-plater is a bad driver — but it feels like a huge percentage of young drivers think they are invincible and hop in their cars doing absolutely maniac things and never return at the end of the day.

I am sick of feeling this way and want it to stop.

I see people who weren’t driving the car in these accidents but were passengers — they were given a second chance.

But they hoon around like they are invincible even though they’ve seen first-hand that no-one is invincible.

I was in an almost tragic car accident at the start of May this year.

I was minding my own business, driving to work coming down a hill doing 10km/h under the speed limit when a man less than 4m away from me pulled out from a stop sign.

My car was an absolute write-off. I was going 70km/h and my windscreen caved in on me and I had to get cut out of my car.

I was hospitalised for a week and luckily, I walked away with only muscle trauma and back issues that still give me a lot of trouble.


This is my second chance at life.

Previous to this accident, I will admit I was an irresponsible driver.

But now I’ve quickly learnt to straighten up my act with driving.

But unfortunately not everyone gets that second chance.

Young people need to remove this idea of invincibility out of their heads and start thinking of some of the repercussions of their actions.

I am certain at least one out of 10 people reading this is a family member or a friend — or even a friend of a friend to someone — who has been involved in a tragic accident.

How did you or that person feel after that tragic event?

Surely that pain is enough to curb your ways of speeding, or seeing someone go through that pain is enough to stop this ridiculous driving.

Please everyone take the pain I have felt, the experience of reckless driving I have experienced and think about anyone you might know being taken away from you in this horrible way.

Next time when you hop into your car, think about the repercussions of putting your foot down to the floor and driving way over the speed limit.

And to all my friends I have tragically lost — I miss you every day.

Rest in peace Justin Thomas, Nathan Watts, Jack Muir, Jeremy Ciantar, Brenton Phillips and last but not least, Joel Brimble.

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