A Queensland mum grieving the loss of her daughter says an unanswered question over the lead-up to the teen's death continues to haunt her.
Alyssa Postle, 17, died in August last year after the car she was in, driven by her teenage friend, smashed into a power pole in Bray Park, north of Brisbane.
Alyssa’s mum Kellie Postle spoke to Yahoo News Australia ahead of Fatality Free Friday.
Ms Postle said her daughter and a number of friends had driven to the Warner Tavern for dinner on the night of August 11.
“Alyssa drove there herself in her car,” she said.
“She had asked me during the day if she could go out. I said, ‘no, it’s a school night’, but I changed my mind.”
As with most teens, Alyssa craved independence. She had only recently got her driver's licence and picked up two friends to take to dinner.
The manager at the Warner Tavern refused to serve the teens as they were underage, so they decided to get dinner at a nearby KFC.
But Alyssa chose not to drive. Instead, she left her car and got into a friend’s Subaru Impreza.
When asked why Alyssa decided to get into a friend’s car, her mum said, “I have no idea”.
“It’s a question that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she said.
It also cost Alyssa hers.
The car she was in crashed into a power pole. She lost consciousness and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
Alyssa remained in hospital for days. Ms Postle said by the end of the week doctors had informed the family she had no brain activity.
She was taken off life support.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” Ms Postle said.
“I’m not the same person. I feel like I was very ignorant.”
In Queensland, people driving with a P1 licence, or drivers with red P-plates, can’t drive with more than one passenger under 21 who is not an immediate family member between 11pm and 5am.
Should P-platers be allowed to take passengers?
Ms Postle believes this law is insufficient and wants it changed.
“I don’t think red P-platers should be allowed passengers in their car,” she said.
“It’s the one thing that could have protected her.”
Ms Postle suggests Queensland consider adopting New Zealand’s provisional licence rules.
Under a yellow licence, the equivalent of P1, drivers can only be on the road by themselves between 5am until 10pm.
Outside of these hours, drivers need a supervisor and can only have passengers who are either a primary caregiver, a parent or guardian, a spouse or partner, or someone they live with on a social security benefit.
Ms Postle added too many people aged between 18-24 are dying on Australia’s roads.
According to the Transport Accident Commission, people aged 18-24 made up almost 20 per cent of Australian road fatalities in the 12 months including April 2021.
People aged 40-64 and 26-39 made up 30 and 26 per cent of the fatalities.
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