Assistant Commissioner Ben Marcus joined RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie to share the story of the events leading up to a crash that changed a young life and the recovery since, in a bid to deter other young people from going down a similar path.

It has been almost one year since Denzel Morandin, a 22-year-old Kelso local, made the decision to drive home after drinking at a party. Travelling at approximately 40km/h over the speed limit and not wearing a seatbelt, he subsequently crashed into trees just minutes from his home, sustaining significant injuries.

He was in a coma for several weeks and has been on a long road to recovery since. Denzel’s hope is that his story will be able to influence other young people to not make the same choice he did.

“I could have taken that taxi home (that night) but I decided to drive,” Denzel said.

“I miss being fit, being able to exercise. I miss going to the park and kicking a football with the boys.

“I would not be able to watch someone go through the pain that I’ve gone through. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

As lives lost on Queensland roads could reach 300 for the year, Assistant Commissioner Marcus has urged school leavers to remember that they aren’t invincible as they embark on their end of year celebrations.

“Making the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking is incredibly risky behaviour. It is the number one contributing factor in 30 per cent of fatal crashes,” Assistant Commissioner Marcus said.

“It’s been a big couple of years and our school leavers have earned the right to be able to celebrate without tragedy. This all comes down to their actions.

“When it comes to road safety for Schoolies it’s about arriving safely and considering your actions during the week.

“We have seen far too many preventable crashes this year. We are urging our school leavers to consider the consequences and remember that their actions on the road have direct consequences on their lives and those around them.”

RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said sadly, P platers were a very high-risk age group and were over-represented in the road toll every year. 

“Concerningly, almost 40 percent of young drivers surveyed by RACQ admitted to putting themselves in danger by being a passenger in a car when they believed the driver was over the legal blood alcohol limit,” Ms Ritchie said.

“This is a shocking reminder of how important it is that young adults understand what’s at stake when making these decisions and for them to know there’s always an alternative to getting in the car with someone who has been affected by drugs or alcohol.

“We also encourage parents to speak with their kids about trusting their gut to remove themselves from a situation that feels wrong and to organise a back-up plan, including having a parent or relative pick them up, public transport, rideshare or sleeping over at the party.”  

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