that caused the death of someone in the same year at university as my youngest nephew. She was travelling home along one of Adelaide's gum tree lined roads when a large branch fell on her car and caused her to lose control. It was an accident. An accident.
My nephew did not know the girl well but it has still, quite naturally, had an impact on him. "It was not like she was speeding or doing something stupid!" Even if that had been the case he would have been upset but this, somehow, makes it even harder.
He, and his brother, have been brought up to believe that the place to get speed thrills is on the go-kart track (which is why their parents took them there in the first place) and that you do not do "stupid" on the roads. There is no reason to believe that they believe otherwise.
It seems other people have not been brought up that way. There were five deaths on our roads yesterday. The weather was a contributing factor. After two days of extreme heat - and a good many very hot days before that - it had cooled down slightly. We had a shower of rain. The roads were suddenly slick. People were tired because they had not slept well in the heat. The combination was a catastrophe. A mother, her two young daughters and a young friend lost their lives in an accident that put two other people in hospital. A young man hit a tree at high speed. I do not know if the accidents could have been avoided but other accidents could certainly have been avoided.
These were accidents in which people were injured. Some of them will recover and carry on with their lives without apparent lasting injury. Others will never fully recover. These road accident statistics are the statstics we do not hear about. They are the statistics that do not get mentioned in the media.
Yesterday I was acutely aware of all that and of my nephew's distress because I had a visit from the parents of a young man who had an accident. He was drinking. He was speeding. He has caused the death of a friend. He has injuries from which he will never fully recover. His parents are in a state of despair. Their son is looking at a lengthy custodial sentence in a secure hospital ward. He is there now and he will, the case now having been concluded, be there for years.
"No **** my fault!" is all he will say via the communication board I provided almost three years ago. The evidence says otherwise.
It is a life sentence for the family of his friend. It is a life sentence for his family. It is a life sentence for him. The worst thing is that it was not an accident.