Teen cyber-bullied after head-on collision on Bruce Highway
FATIGUE is one of the leading causes of crashes on Queensland Roads, a fact that is sadly proven time and time again.
A teenage driver with first-hand experience demonstrated just how dangerous tired driving can be.
Gladstone Magistrates Court heard that on August 19 at 3.05am, the 17-year-old woman crashed her car into another vehicle after she briefly fell asleep at the wheel.
Police prosecutor acting Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said six people were taken to hospital after the head-on collision along the Bruce Highway.
He said the Toyota Hilux that was hit had three people inside, one of which was an infant.
The court heard the driver of the Hilux had to swerve to try and avoid colliding with the oncoming car, which had crossed into the other lane.
Snr Const Selvadurai said the teenage driver later told police she had been on "auto-pilot" during her drive from Agnes Water to Tannum Sands.
He said there were two other people inside the car, both of whom had fallen asleep some time before.
"She (the defendant) had a micro-sleep," he said.
According to the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, drowsy driving road accidents are estimated to cost Australian communities $2 billion each year.
The court heard the 17-year-old had suffered the most significant injuries in the high-speed crash, fracturing her hip and sustaining an injury to her collarbone.
In addition to her physical injuries, defence lawyer Lauren Townsend said her client had also suffered great emotional trauma at the hands of her peers cyber bullying her.
"Memes started going around of Grand Theft Auto and Tokyo Drift with her face (the defendant's) on them," Ms Townsend told the court.
She said the situation her client was facing was "no run-in-the-mill traffic matter" as the defendant, a recent graduate of Tannum Sands State High School, had not been part of any mischief, drinking or partying before the crash.
When asked by Magistrate Melanie Ho about her car, the defendant quietly answered that it had been "written off" - her voice quivering as she spoke.
Ms Ho fined the apologetic teenager $1000 and gave her the benefit of no conviction recorded and no driver's licence disqualification.
She said the defendant had been "scarred emotionally and (had) suffered significantly in relation to this incident".
"You have suffered enough," she said.