Mourning mum's battle to keep young drivers alive
THE mother of a Sunshine Coast P-plater tragically killed in a crash is determined not to let her son become another statistic.
Jake Dunn was just 22 when he was driving to a new job when the wheel of his vehicle struck wet debris.
His car aquaplaned and ploughed into a tree at Maleny. It was only five months after gaining his provisional driver's licence.
In the last year alone, 59 young motorists were Queensland road victims, with more than half the fatalities involving P-plate or learner drivers. Forty per cent of people who die on Australian roads are under the age of 25.
It is these very statistics that Jake's mother Cindy Littlejohn wants to now change through the inaugural Jake's Memory Ride and Drive - Be Alive at 25 event on May 6.
"Drugs, alcohol, fatigue and speed were not factors. In fact, it was an emergency situation where he could not regain control of his car through lack of education," Ms Littlejohn said.
"The loss of a young life is ultimately indescribable, the impact on those closest to them - parents, family, friends and partners - is devastating and lasting. Each life lost is one too many."
Ms Littlejohn is campaigning for a Youth Driver Education Centre to be established at Jake's former school, Carinity Education - Glendyne in Hervey Bay.
"More than 400 school leavers take to our local roads every year. Improving their riding and driving skills means the life we save could be that of someone you love. Our message is simple: 'Be alive at 25'," she said.
The event aims to raise $25,000 to purchase a cutting-edge driving simulator to teach youths safe driving skills.
Carinity Education - Glendyne principal Dale Hansen encouraged learners to try it.
"The SDT-153 Safe Driver Training Simulator is unique in that it has three screens and an advanced physics engine, providing high-realism driving," Mr Hansen said.
"It is designed to simulate roads and driving conditions for Australian cars, with emergency scenarios and defensive driving tasks to test drivers' reactions.
"Ensuring young drivers are equipped with the correct skills, knowledge and attitude to drive safely will make our roads a safer journey for everyone."
Jake's Memory Ride and Drive will start with a memorial drive from Urangan Pier to Carinity Education - Glendyne in Nikenbah, which will host markets, food stalls, rides, entertainment, live music, classic cars, a road safety expo and more.
For more information or to sponsor Jake's Memory Ride and Drive phone 0432 081 232, email email@example.com, or go to www.facebook.com/glendyneschool.