Jet's Passing Not In Vain
"HE passed away, baby. He died."
Just five words from Anita Rowland's husband that changed her life.
It was February 2004.
Mrs Rowland's boy Jet was only 22 months when chef Ian Alexander McLeod had an epileptic fit while driving on the Logan Motorway.
Mr McLeod's vehicle veered across the median strip and ploughed into Mrs Rowland's RAV 4.
The crash not only stole Jet's life but left his brother Bailey, then seven, paralysed from the hips down.
Almost four years later, the Rowlands of Springfield Lakes, are fighting a battle to have Jet's name immortalised in a law that will prevent the tragedy being repeated.
"I want everyone to know about the legacy Jet left behind by paying the ultimate price and I will work for the rest of my life to do what I can to stop this happening again," Mrs Rowland said.
The Rowlands are campaigning for a change to Queensland law.
"It is a change that will save lives," Mrs Rowland said.
In March 2006, as a result of the crash that took Jet's life, legislation was introduced requiring patients to immediately inform Queensland Transport of medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive, instead of withholding the information until they renewed their licences.
Now, the Rowland family, and the 2000 people who have signed their petition, are proposing an amendment to legislation to include mandatory reporting by doctors of medical conditions to Queensland Transport.
"THE idea is that Queensland Transport would be notified in cases where a driver refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility for their medical condition and continues to drive unsafely," Mrs Rowland said.
A Queensland Transport spokesman said yesterday "health professionals" were the "sticking point" on drafting the law.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Ross Cartmill said doctors were not community police officers.
"Queensland Transport has responsibility for deciding who can drive and who cannot," Dr Cartmill said.
He proposed patients be referred to a third party for consultation.
But Mrs Rowland said holding a licence was a privilege, not a right.
"If a doctor tells a patient to report their medical condition and stop driving when they leave the room, who's to say they will," she asked.
"But if a doctor makes the report it is a safeguard for people on the roads."
Even if the amendment isn't made next year, the Rowlands are campaigning to have the law officially named Jet's Law.
If it happens, it will be the first time a Queensland law has been named after a person.
"This means so much to me because I want everyone to know Jet's legacy and what happened to him," Mrs Rowland said. "I want Jet to make a difference."
Mrs Rowland met Transport Minister John Mickel recently and was told the naming process was in the pipeline.
A spokesman for Mr Mickel said yesterday it was a complicated process.
"I would speculate some time early next year," he said.
To support the campaign for an amended law, visit www.gopetition.com /petitions/jets-law.html.
"Your life can change in a heartbeat, and you can't sidestep grief," Mrs Rowland said.
"But it is my hope that Jet is always remembered for the beautiful boy that he was.
"I hope my baby makes a difference."Source: Anna Caldwell, The Queensland Times