Today, Friday May 31, is Fatality Free Friday, an initiative of the Australian Road Safety Foundation that aims to encourage drivers to consciously think about road safety and safe driving in order to reduce the road toll to zero. Even for one day. That alone could save five lives. For more information, visit the ARSF website.
Warning: the following contains details that may distress some readers.
It took 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive at the Cockburn’s home near Young, NSW. Each one of those minutes stretched cruelly in Emma and Peter‘s panic. Their 15-month-old daughter had been struck by Peter’s tool trailer as he reversed his ute into their garage.
Despite their best efforts and those of paramedics and doctors, Georgina — or Georgy, as her family called her — was pronounced dead at Young Hospital that evening. April 16, 2011.
Low-speed vehicle run-overs (LSVR) such as this result in the deaths of seven Australian children annually and leave another 60 seriously injured. In most cases, the driver is a parent, relative or friend.
As the ambulance had driven away that April evening, Peter knew he could respond one of two ways.
“I remember screaming and screaming; I let out a lot. Then something came over me,” Peter told Mamamia. “‘Think about others. Stop being selfish.’
“It’s surreal. There are a lot of things going through your mind, and I could have easily just felt sorry for myself. ‘I can’t believe this has happened to me.’ You know, ‘the world is against me’, and ‘everyone owes me something’. But at the end of the day, I took responsibility for my own actions and my mindset was to try to fix this situation, not go and sit in a room and sulk, because that wouldn’t help anybody. It would put a lot more people in pain and also put myself in a really bad situation.”
Georgy’s death was a tragedy of circumstance. Emma was mowing the lawn at the time, and had left her and her three siblings — the eldest then aged five-and-a-half — safely inside the house. Somehow, Georgy had managed to crawl into the garage as her builder father returned from work.