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Chilling statistics for young drivers -

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KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Here is a chilling statistic: one in every three drivers under 25 will be
involved in a car accident. While most will walk away from the crash, health workers say the
statistics don't tell the full story.

For far too many, survival often comes at a horrific cost, with permanent brain damage the most
common and devastating injury of all. Over the next three days more than 12,000 high school
students will gather at Sydney's Homebush Acer Arena to hear first-person accounts from young
adults whose lives were changed forever by bad driving or just bad luck on the road. Deborah
Cornwall reports.

JARRAD INGRAM, CAR ACCIDENT SURVIVOR: I can't remember the accident. I've got post-traumatic
amnesia, which means that you are basically like a human goldfish. You remember three seconds, and
after three seconds, your memory gets wiped and it starts again afresh.

DEBORAH CORNWALL, REPORTER: It's now four years since 24-year-old Jarrad Ingram sped off in his ute
after an argument with his girlfriend, losing control on a wet country road. Rushed to Sydney's
Westmead Hospital his head injuries were so severe doctors at first declared him brain-dead.

DIANNE INGRAM, MOTHER: When he opened his eyes, there was no-one there. He couldn't talk, he was
totally blind, could not sit up, couldn't hold his head up. Just sat head down and dribbled.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: That Jarrad can function at all is remarkable, a testament to the Westmead
Hospital's brain injury unit, where half its patients are young people, most of them car crash
victims.

But Jarrad will never get his old life back.

JARRAD INGRAM: I have no friends at the moment. Like, for me trying to get a girlfriend now is
totally impossible. They then feel like I'm dependent on them and that they're gonna have to treat
me like a baby and they don't want a baby. They want a boyfriend, so - or a partner for life.

DIANNE INGRAM: I suppose your heart dies a little bit every day, just seeing it. It's really
probably is the cruellest thing. It's like you wake up every day and as I open my eyes ... yep.

STEPHANIE WILSON, TRAUME CO-ORDINATOR: We see far too many young people injured in road traffic
crashes.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Stephanie Wilson co-ordinates the long-term treatment of major trauma victims in
Sydney's west. She says despite three decades of scare campaigns targeting young people, one in
every three patients she sees are drivers under 25. Their lives devastated by horrific, mostly
permanent injuries from car accidents.

STEPHANIE WILSON: Dreadfully distressing and I know as a nurse you have to put that to the back and
actually just treat, and we are very good at doing that, but we do take it home too. You know, some
cases stick in our minds forever.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Six years ago, Westmead Hospital launched its own campaign, pitching the message
directly at 12,000 high school students at their annual Youth and Road Trauma forum.

STEPHANIE WILSON: We want to show them that they're not immortal and that they can die. And - or if
they don't die, that they can suffer severe permanent disabilities and injuries.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: The hope is the forum will reach teenagers in a way advertising campaigns can't,
using shock-and-awe scenarios and the real life stories of car crash survivors like Jarrad.

JARRAD INGRAM: I go for a drive with my mates and occasionally do a burnout or a doughy, but I
always thought I could control my vehicle. We all thought it was a bit of a laugh. I suppose now
looking back at it, I was probably a bit of a ... (holds up and wiggles pinkie finger of right
hand).

NAOMI DECK, CAR ACCIDENT SURVIVOR: I didn't actually hit my head on anything; my brain just hit the
back of my skull and then bounced off there and then bounced off the front and just did that for a
bit.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: 27-year-old Naomi Deck is a former maternity nurse who suffered critical injuries
including brain damage just driving to work. Despite a spectacular recovery, she can no longer work
as a nurse and her injuries are for life.

NAOMI DECK: I need to really concentrate on my walk. I can walk well for a few minutes, but then my
foot turns in and starts dragging. Then I've got ongoing back issues. So even though the bones
healed, the muscles are still on guard. Then also, my memory isn't brilliant. I still fatigue
easily. That is the reality that your life isn't gonna be the same. It can't be the same again
after such a trauma.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: It's a message that seemed to hit the mark today.

STUDENT: Just to see the total, like, bad impact of it is really hectic. It's really touching kind
of, like, oh - it gave me kind of shivers.

STUDENT II: Well it was very eye-opening. Didn't think it'd be, like, as heavy as it is sorta
thing.

STUDENT III: Yeah, I do have my licence now, and, yeah, it's definitely gonna make me think twice
when I'm rive driving. Make sure I'm under the speed limit and everything.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: For Naomi and Jarrad, sharing their stories has been a perverse sort of therapy.

NAOMI DECK: The reason that I give these talks and talk to people is I think if I change how one
person drives their car so that they don't have this injury, do it every day, happily.

JARRAD INGRAM: I kinda never thought this would happen to me. I thought I'd get away with it. It
turned out I didn't.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Deborah Cornwall with that story.