Mary Valley couple survives being hit by texting driver
MARY VALLEY couple Jayke and Kelley Laing are lucky to be alive after being hit by a distracted driver believed to have been texting on her mobile phone little more than a week ago.
The pair is so shaken by the ordeal, which astonishingly had them released from hospital with only bruising, they have taken to social media to share their story.
A post about the Saturday, November 21 accident had already been shared at least 150 times yesterday while myPolice Gympie also used the incident to remind drivers of the dangers of using a mobile phone.
Sharing photos of the Mary Valley couple's mangled ute, myPolice Gympie said: "A picture paints a thousand words, or so they say. Perhaps you can be the judge if these pictures are enough for you to think twice before you use your mobile phone in the vehicle..."
The couple had been in Gympie and was heading home in the afternoon when the frightening accident unfolded.
After driving past the Jones Hill Store, the couple, still in the 60km/h zone, was struck by a woman driving from the opposite direction towards Gympie.
"There was this horrible sound with a bloody big bang and all I remember are the airbags and grabbing hold," Mrs Laing said.
"All I saw was smoke and I got scared but it turned out to be smoke from the airbags.
"Once I was out of the car my hubby was beside me trying to calm me down and tell me it's OK."
Two women were on the scene of the accident shortly afterwards, providing the couple with blankets to lie on, water and an umbrella.
The women told Mrs Laing they had witnessed accident, saying the other female driver was speeding and on the phone at the time before crossing on to the wrong side of the road.
"She hit us at 100km/h in a 60km/h zone," Mrs Laing said.
Still emotional after the accident, Mrs Laing said she felt frightened to both drive and be a passenger as her trust in others was gone.
Mrs Laing is also thankful of the two "beautiful" ladies who helped the couple moments after the accident.
"I would like to see these ladies again to thank them for stopping to help us," she said.
The couple has a simple message for drivers tempted to use their mobile phones behind the wheel.
"Texting and driving... the next person I ever see doing this, I will make a point of taking a pic and also have the number plate for police," Mrs Laing said.
"It only takes something like that and your life could be over in a flash."
Gympie senior constable and district crime prevention co-ordinator Debbie Wruck reminded Gympie drivers yesterday to resist the urge to use a mobile while driving.
"It's a frustrating problem and social media in particular is very distracting," she said.
"Put your phone, GPS unit or iPod out of sight and reach if you are tempted."
The Queensland Centre of Accident Research and Road Safety says drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel are four times more likely to have a crash requiring hospitalisation while texting further increases the time spent looking away from the road.
In Queensland, drivers caught using a mobile phone face a $353 fine plus three demerit points. As of September 1 this year, double demerit points were introduced for a second or subsequent offence committed within a year of an earlier offence.