GREAT LOSS: Garry  and Sue Jenkins with photographs of their son, Dann.
GREAT LOSS: Garry and Sue Jenkins with photographs of their son, Dann. Richard Gosling

'He can't have died for nothing': Parents' plea for safety

MORE than a year after their 22-year-old son's death, condolence cards are still plentiful in the Terranora home of Sue and Garry Jenkins.

So too are photographs of their son Dann, who died after his motorcycle collided with a Toyota HiLux utility on Numinbah Road near Chillingham on the morning of October 24 last year.

Mrs Jenkins said the heartbreak of losing their eldest child, who loved weightlifting and worked at Coles, had fortified her drive to make our roads safer.

Edwin Patrick Jessop, now 88, pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning death and was sentenced in a Lismore court on Monday to a nine-month suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for three years.

Jessop claimed he did not see Mr Jenkins when he turned his ute into the motorcyclist's path.

Disappointed with the sentence, Mrs Jenkins said she will gather signatures for a petition she hopes will lead to better testing of older drivers.

In New South Wales, medical reviews are required for drivers from the age of 75. Only heavy vehicle drivers require practical driving assessment every two years.

Those aged 85 and older must pass a practical driving test every two years, or opt for a modified licence.

Despite these being the toughest rules for senior drivers in Australia, Mrs Jenkins said this wasn't enough and she hoped to gather the 10,000 signatures needed to lodge the petition in both the NSW and Queensland parliaments.

"We're wanting a mandatory simulated driving test from the age of 75, with an emergency event in the driving test to show they can (react) to avoid the emergency situation," she said.

She said doctors who gave older drivers the green light should also be held accountable.

"This just can't keep going on. (My son) can't have died for nothing."

Tweed Heads solicitor and former police prosecutor Russell Baxter, who has worked extensively in road safety, said practical driving tests should be mandatory from 80 years of age.

"I think they should be medically checked and doctors should be made accountable," he said.

NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said the rules in place in NSW since 2008 were the "most robust" in Australia.

Mr Carlon said the 2013 Older Driver Taskforce found the NSW system struck "the right balance between maintaining mobility and independence and road safety for all road users".



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