Friday, July 18, 2008


THERE are legendary tales throughout history about what mothers have done to save their own children. In Queensland, there is a mother who has saved the lives of countless others after she was denied the chance to save her own son. Anita Rowland's one-woman battle to change legislation after a driver suffered an epileptic fit and crashed into her car at 240km/h in 2004 - killing one son and paralysing the other - is now enshrined in state law.

Jet's Law - named after 22-month-old Jet Rowland, who died in the 2004 crash - is the first eponymous law in Queensland. Most importantly, it has seen more than 121,000 drivers register with Queensland Transport the medical condition that affects their driving.Ms Rowland, 31, a Queensland Police Service senior constable, has been nominated for the 2008 Pride of Australia Courage award for somehow finding the fortitude, despite her grief, to not only fight for the new law but to educate thousands across the state in driver workshops about the aftermath of road tragedy."

"I remember being at home and I can't seriously put into words how much I missed Jet. I remember thinking - all I want is Jet back," she said. "But that was never going to happen. So, I guess it was a very personal decision for me to want to do something positive with this experience. I didn't want another family to go through the grief that was inflicted on my family.”

"The driver that collided with us was a lifelong epileptic who was suffering from unstable epilepsy but continued to drive knowing that his epilepsy was unstable. The choices and the decisions that driver made - putting the convenience of having a licence above every other road user and choosing to ignore and take responsibility for their medical condition - those choices ended Jet's life and Bailey's ability to walk. I really felt very passionate that this incident should never have happened and I needed to do something to prevent that from happening. "
"I would trade everything I own to trade Jetty back and because I can't change what happened, I really want Jet to be proud of me. I want him to be proud that I have done everything I possibly can, and I have done the best as I can and coped as best as I can with losing him so young. I think that when he looks down on me he will think - OK, my mum lost me very young, but she has tried to make something positive out of it.”

"Once upon a time I think it would have been easier to curl up in the fetal position and disappear. Now, however, I think it is harder to live life like that and that you really need to make the most of every opportunity you have because life ... it is very precious."

More than 1450 casualties were recorded as a result of crashes involving drivers and riders with medical conditions in Queensland between July 2001 and July 2006. Reportable medical conditions include dementia, stroke, epilepsy, sleeping disorders and angina. The driver in the crash that killed Jet has been charged with dangerous driving causing death.

July 19, 2008
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1 comment:

  1. Hey!

    Found out about your blog while reading the papers... Great to see you stay strong despite it all. Even greater to know that someone out there can be as strong as I am trying to be myself. It's not easy, but since you and I did it, I want everyone to know that they too can pull through it.


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