Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekend Reflection: Drunken driving

Last 10 days to vote.

Photos courtesy New Zealand Herald.

This post is one of reflection. I wrote this article many years ago.

Common mistakes of a newly licensed driver

In many countries, the legal age to drive is as young as 16. In New Zealand, where I live, it is 15. Statistically, the young drivers have more accidents and there are more deaths than older experienced drivers. So now, the law is changed and the young person holds a learner's license.

It is apparent that they make many common mistakes. They think they are invincible and flout traffic codes. More often, boys make more mistakes because of their testosterone and wanting to speed and drive recklessly. Girls too make mistake, they are easily distracted especially if she is driving a group of girl friends, and they giggle, laugh, sing and tease other drivers on the roads. Other mistakes include alcohol, drugs, inexperience and talk or text on cell phone. Often, the condition of the car is old and run down because the parents cannot afford to buy a good car for them.

The drunk driver in this news article was drunk, disqualified 3 times. He wasn't a young driver. He is 38. In any case, he was dangerous and should never be on the road.

This morning, a mother buries her son.
She is no random mother I read in the newspaper.
She is the mother of 4 of my students.
She is someone I talk to.
She is burying her first born.
Sanele was 17.
Sanele was killed by a drunken driver.

This month is Andrew's anniversary month.
I had Andrew for 55 days.
Teevao had Sanele for 6207 days.
I understand Teevao's grief.

I saw Sanele's sister Faith.
She came to school just one day.
I hugged her tightly.
I didn't have to say anything.


'I don't want him to die' - anguish at Cup teen's death
By Anna Leask
5:30 AM Thursday Nov 3, 2011

Teevao Pauli sits next to the body of her son Sanele at their home in Pt Chevalier. Photo / Steven McNicholl

The parents of a teenage boy killed on his way home from celebrating the All Blacks' World Cup win wanted him to stay at home that night.

But Sanele Pauli, 17, was so desperate to be part of the festivities that he pleaded with his mother for a week until she let him go.

Now Teevao Pauli must say goodbye to her boy for ever - and is left wondering if he would still be alive if she had not changed her mind just hours before kick-off.

Sanele was on his way home in the early hours of Labour Day and had just stepped off a bus with his brothers when a car hit him in Great North Rd, Pt Chevalier.

He was 500m from home. The Herald revealed last week that the man driving the car was a disqualified driver with three previous drink-driving convictions.

The 38-year-old had a breath-alcohol level of 512mcg - the limit in 400mcg. Police allege he was also speeding.

Mrs Pauli was sitting waiting for her boys to come home.

"The whole week Sanele was asking me. I said, 'No, I don't want you to go," she said. "But I could tell that he really wanted to."

Mrs Pauli eventually agreed to drop Sanele and his brothers Tapu, 15, and Sefo, 14, in Queen St.

"Sanele was so excited. He was the last one to get out of the car. He turned and said, 'Thanks mum,' and I knew he was so happy."

Tapu had a cellphone to call home if they needed a lift, or text if they were taking a bus.

"I stayed up, sitting and waiting for their call. Tapu called me and I heard him crying ... 'Mum, mum, come ... Sanele got hit by a car and he's not breathing'."

Mrs Pauli woke her husband, File, and they rushed to the scene.

"I was crying, I was just begging, 'God, please, God, please, I don't want him to die.'

"When I got there I saw him lying on the road on his own. I asked the policeman, 'Why are you not helping him?' He just comforted us and said, 'I'm sorry, we couldn't do anything. He's already gone.'

"I asked if I could go and hold him and say goodbye, but they couldn't let me. My boys were saying, 'Sorry, mum.' They were blaming themselves for what happened, especially Tapu."

Sanele was crossing the road with Tapu when he was hit. Tapu told his mother he saw the car coming towards them. He was between the car and his brother.

"Sefo got off the bus and ran across the road. Sanele and Tapu stayed on longer to say goodbye to their cousins. When the bus left, they crossed the road. Tapu didn't know if Sanele saw the car. He said it happened so fast. He stopped, he was right there, he was looking at the car ... then he heard the noise of the car hitting Sanele."

Mrs Pauli said the boys were taking their brother's death very hard.

His younger sisters Celyn, 15, and twins Faith and Hope, 7, were also devastated.

"The police tried to explain about the driver but I didn't want to know. Nothing's going to bring my son back. I'm still just trying to focus on my boy. I haven't thought about the driver yet."

Sanele's body has been at home with his family this week. His funeral is on Saturday.

He would have graduated from Avondale College this month and had enrolled in a mechanics course at Unitec. Mrs Pauli said Sanele was a "daddy's boy" and wanted to be a mechanic like his father.

"He was his father's right-hand man. His father relied on him to help with the cars. I'm just asking myself, how do I say goodbye to him when I bury him? How will I accept that? I know I will never see him again."

Mrs Pauli said that if she could say one last thing to her boy, it would be "Go in peace".

"We're praying that he's going to be in heaven. I know he's going to be a good angel - our guardian angel."



Kim, USA said...

Same here in the US many accidents comes from drunk driving as well as young ones driving on the road. So painful to see or hear a mother buries her son because of some peoples action and irresponsible action. Have a great weekend! About my skywatch, no we didn't go cross Canada we didn't brought our passport. We only stayed at the park at Port Huron and enjoying the view. ^_^


Clytie said...

Such a waste of life.
Such a tragedy.
I have tears in my eyes.

Ginny Hartzler said...

Drunk driving is awful, People can't judge themselves if their reflexes are slow or not. So I think there should be a rule that no one can drive if they have even had ONE drink!!! Alcohol affects some people differently, it doesn't take much for some. I have read that most accidents happen very close to home.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, Ann, I am so sorry about this young man. My heart aches for his family, and for you because I know you are feeling their pain.
Reflecting on such things as drunk driving is a good idea. Unfortunately, the drinking drivers almost never reflect on it until someone has died.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Drunk driving in our country is horrible... The 'drunks' are never punished much ---and soon, are out driving again... Sad ---but true!!!!

I am feeling much better. Thanks for your concern.

Lew said...

You have written a touching poem to one who died too young. Sanele's death is so tragic and senseless. It will be especially hard for his brothers who were there. Our legal system has not been able to deal with the drinking and driving problem. Schools here have grief counselors for times when a student dies. I am sure you will be able to help Sanele's family.

Our lollies are all gone. It was a cool night, but lots of goblins were out.

Francisca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francisca said...

Just before my mother died last year, she said the one big thing she was happy about is that she did NOT have to suffer seeing any of her five children go before her. A few nights ago, I went to the wake of a friend who was the same age as me. The parents, I could see, were devastated to lose their son. Reckless driving, whether under the influence or distracted by phone, can cause such senseless death and pain, all the more when the victim is young and full of promise.

Unknown said...

Great reflection post. The legal age here is 18 and car accidents are a major problem on our roads.

Dave said...

A sad post Ann. I wish comfort to the parents of those boys - Dave

genie said...

Your gift of the written word is truly a gift from God. You have touched my depths of my heart and soul with your words tonight. So sad, but your writing so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your innermost thought with all of us. You are a very special lady genie.

LifeRamblings said...

such a heart-wrenching story. driving drunk is utterly horrible. I don't understand why people do it considering the consequences.