Driving Age

Reporter:Graeme Butler

"All we do is learn to cope. You'll never get over it i don't think anyone can get over the loss of a child you learn to cope from one day to the next" Its' been just over a year since Steele Whitlum's life was cut tragically short ... run down by a P Plate driver as he walked home from a party. His parents grief is still raw... the court case is not over.. but Michael and Kim are determined to make a change. "We want the laws changed so his death is not in vain hopefully we can save some other kids or innocent bystanders"

The laws they're talking about are those that govern teenage drivers .. they want the driving age lifted to 18 like in Victoria ... and a zero alcohol limit for teenagers behind the wheel . The Whitelums question why 17 year olds are allowed to drive when they're still considered children in the eyes of the law... "You've got to be 18 to get into a bar to buy alcohol. 18 to get into a R rated movie a lot of places you have to be 18 you have to be adult where as you don't have to be an adult to driver a car which is a lethal weapon"

This is the section of old coast road at falcoln south of Mandurah where Steele was hit from behind as he walked home from a a new years eve party with a couple of mates the matter is still before the childrens court but police alledge that behind the wheel was a 17 drink driver. "If the driving age is changed to 18 and tehn something like this happens these kids are going to be treated and charged as an adult not as children" The Campaign for Change was launched when Steele's uncle who lives overseas placed this full page add in the west australian - blunt and hard hitting.

"This is the catalyst i suppose and now the add has been put in the paper i don't know how many people read the paper but you couldn't have missed it that full page so it's out there slapping you in the face basically" It's not only road laws Michael and Kim want changed.. they're also calling for better rates of organ donation. They want their story to inspire others.. "six other people are out there benefiting from him and he still lives on in them that's what gives me a sense of hope really you know he's got a big strong heart that's beating in someone elses chest at the moment..if we can get that awareness out there and get that number of donors up there would be so many lives saved so many hundreds of lives changed"

The Whitelums know changing the law will be a long road - they're hoping an online petition will be a starting point for those who agree with them to voice their support. "Do you think it's realistic or are you banging your head against the wall - you'd like to think you're not banging your head against the wall but i'm sure we'll come up iagainst some brick walls you're just going to havet o stand in fron tof that brick wall and just keep hammering it until it falls down then you move onto the next brick wall" Kim says "i want him to be remembered for what he's done not for what iv'e done for he's done if i can get the laws changed that will be because of him not me"

To sign the petition visit the following address:

www.gopetition.com/petitions/raise-the-legal-driving-age-to-18-in-western-australia.html