Our say: Deaths a reality check on driving habits

THREE separate road fatalities in the space of two months is a burden almost too much to bear for a school.

News that the young man killed in a single vehicle crash at Dunkeld early on Saturday morning was Orange resident and former Kelso High School student Jacob Donovan was the third tragedy to hit the school community since October.

Twenty-year-old Jacob’s car left the Mitchell Highway shortly after midnight on Saturday and hit a stationary car that had been involved in a previous incident.

People who knew Jacob well – and even some who had never met him – recalled him as the life of the party in social media posts yesterday while also sending their condolences to his family and friends.

They painted a picture of a young man who was no choir boy but his life was cut far too short and his death leaves a great burden to carry for those he has left behind.

Every road death is a tragedy but Jacob’s loss is tinged with greater sadness coming so soon after fellow former Kelso High students Jack Fenton and Zac Baker.

Let’s not forget also that it was two young male drivers who were involved in the deaths of Bletchington Public School teacher Kerri Parkes in August and a young woman during a police chase on Ophir Road in September.

Jacob, Jack and Zac walked the same corridors and ovals during their school life and now occupy the same shared space in our thoughts in death.

What their combined deaths remind us all – and particularly young drivers – is that tragedy can strike anywhere, any time.

And it can strike more than once.

Police are yet to determine the cause of death in each of these cases but the inexperience of each of the drivers must surely have played a part. If the reasons go deeper, then that must be for a coroner to conclude.

In the meantime, though, it’s time for us all to take stock of our own driving habits.

Young people should been going to parties, not funerals.

We all feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof when we’re 20, but eventually the message must get through that we’re not. Young men are especially vulnerable, simply because they believe they are the least vulnerable. Their greatest strength can quickly become their greatest weakness.

If the death of these three young men does not ram home that message, then we’re at a loss to suggest what will.