Crash victim's mother reveals 'roller coaster' of recovery
EIGHTEEN months after the fatal Easter Monday crash outside Tiaro and Trisha Mabley still hates reliving the horrifying night.
She remembers the knot forming in her stomach while having to wait for the phone call, not knowing whether her beloved son Daniel Knowles had perished in a fiery crash on the Bruce Hwy more than 18 months ago.
"Finding out on social media was the worst thing ever," Ms Mabley said.
"I remember thinking 'Is he going to walk? Will he survive? How bad is he?' the whole time.
"Honestly, it was worse than my own father dying."
The head-on collision on April 18, which sent shockwaves through the Fraser Coast, claimed the lives of Bundaberg siblings Daniel and Sarah Walker.
The driver responsible for the deaths of Sarah and Daniel, Hervey Bay solicitor Donald George Gayler, was fined $3000 and lost his licence for three months.
Mr Knowles and another family friend were seriously injured in the crash.
But more than a year on and his road to recovery is still long and hard.
Ms Mabley said her son had developed survivor's guilt since the incident occurred and still faced hours of surgery just to keep him upright.
"He travels from Brisbane to Bundaberg occasionally to visit family and has to drive past that site every time," she said.
"Since the crash it has been like a roller coaster, going in and out of surgery and even having a knee reconstruction before Christmas this year.
"He lives with the nightmares, the flashbacks and the torment it has caused for him."
The devastating turn of events led Ms Mabley and Sarah and Daniel Walkers' mother, Kerri, to campaign for harsher penalties for dangerous drivers.
In June, the State Government passed Walkers Law, increasing the punishment for careless drivers who kill or seriously injure people in crashes.
But Ms Mabley still wants more education directed young children about driver awareness and structural rules to minimise road deaths.
"We need to reinforce it for young children to know what's right and wrong, so they can speak up to their parents and recognise dangerous driving," she said.
"People need to drive to the conditions of the roads and understand it's not just an accident, it lives with you forever.
"Anyone that speeds, does long distance driving or drives fatigued... there should be some kind of testing to see if they're okay to drive."
Ms Mabley said roads with identified dangers also needed to be assessed and looked over by road officials to mitigate accidents.
"It seems like a stupid thing to do, but if you have someone going through realising there's a hazard on the road, then there needs to be an assessment," she said.