King of the road
By ADRIAN MILLER
Arthur's driving towards a century
MOST of us would be ecstatic just to be alive when we are 99, let alone still driving.
But for Yamba resident Arthur Newman, who turns 100 in January, he not only holds a current driver's licence, he's not afraid to use it.
Mr Newman has been driving since 1923, when at the age of 17 he obtained his bus licence so he could drive for his uncle's business in Sydney.
He drove buses and taxis for the company right up until World War Two before enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Driving for the best part of a century, you see some funny things, Mr Newman said.
"I had a car that was built more of timber than anything else once and I was driving through Chatswood one day with my wife when, as I turned the corner, a horse ran down the hill and jumped into the car," he said.
Neither are you immune from accidents.
"The worst accident I had was when I was driving a bus," he said.
"I was driving in Gladesville when a picture show was over and I was picking people up.
"I could see these people at the bus stop and a woman ran out in front of the bus to tell me to stop.
"I braked, but the bus went into a skid. I did everything to stop but the rear of the bus hit a telegraph pole, ripping the corner out of the bus. The fragments hit an elderly person who fell back, hit her head on the concrete and died.
"I was only about 20 when that happened and it was very traumatic."
Mr Newman's son, Neil, said his father was still a wonderful driver.
"To be able to drive at such an age is such a monumental achievement. I admire him greatly," Neil said.
Mr Newman said the most important aspect to driving was paying attention.
"The one thing you have to do when driving is keep your eyes on the road and watch what's going on," he said.
"If you go all haphazard and don't care, that's when bad things happen."
Mr Newman, who has a test every year to determine if he can keep his licence, will go up for renewal the day after his 100th birthday celebration.
"I'm still really confident about taking people in the car. I have no worries at all with driving," he said.