'It's all been taken from me': Injured dad's emotional plea
SERIOUSLY injured, bleeding and crushed, Ipswich dad Robert Carroll could only think of his daughter as he lay trapped in his wrecked car for close to an hour.
The truckie was driving to work at Goodna early in the morning in April last year when a another driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed onto the wrong side of the road and smashed head-on into the 27-year-old's car.
Mr Carroll's car was pushed into the gutter, trapping him in the wreckage until emergency services could cut him free.
He was left with a broken back, lacerations all over his body, an irregular heat beat from the impact, a broken ankle and torn tendons in his foot.
What he thought would be a quick recovery has left the young father with life-long injuries that impact his work, play time with his two-year-old daughter, Emily, and his every day life.
"It all happened in half a second and right at the very last moment I saw the car veer into the wrong lane," he said.
"There was a big crash and glass everywhere and I though that was it, I was in a bad way and all I could think about was my daughter."
Still recovering, Mr Carroll is using his story to remind other drivers about the dangers of driving fatigued or distracted in time for Road Safety Week, which is this week.
He said the love of his young daughter and support from his close mates kept him in high spirits and helped him in his emotional recovery.
"My life will never be the same again, my back is always excruciating and I can't even stand sometimes it's that agonising. I can't even kick a ball around for five minutes," he said.
"I used to be out playing sport and on dirt bikes and that's all been taken away from me, it's a lot to swallow.
"Emily loves her footy and always says 'Daddy can we play' but how am I supposed to be her coach if I'm injured? She's a beautiful little girl and so active.
"She's going to want to run around the yard and I just have to sit and watch her. How am I supposed to look her in the eye and say I can't."
Mr Carroll said he would always be recovering from the crash, both physically and mentally.
"The best advice I could give anyone going through this kind of thing is to look after your mental health. I was a happy go lucky bloke that was cheery that loved to get out with my friends but afterwards I felt absolutely useless," he said.
"I have really close friends who encouraged me to look after my mental health and get through. There is no shame in getting help, the stigma on mental health has got to go."
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers associate Stephanie Francis urged the Ipswich community to get behind the State Government's Queensland Road Safety week initiative and 'Join the Drive' to help save lives.
"Tragically, we have already seen 153 people die on Queensland roads this year - even one death is too many," Ms Francis said.
"All too often I see people like Robert who have been injured in motor vehicle related accidents that have lifelong impacts not only on the individual but also on their loved ones and the wider community."
"It's up to every road user to ensure they obey the road rules and drive safely every time they get behind the wheel to ensure our loved ones arrive home safely at the end of the day."