Paraplegic Ake Engman, at home in Mackay, wants everyone to understand the importance of safety while operating a motor vehicle.
Paraplegic Ake Engman, at home in Mackay, wants everyone to understand the importance of safety while operating a motor vehicle. Peter Holt

Paraplegic wants to warn youth about staying safe

AKE Engman says he has never had a "sad" day in his life.

He became a paraplegic at the age of 21 and although it changed his life forever he still has a positive outlook.

Mr Engman said he would never forget the single-vehicle crash he was involved in at Mount Isa in 1981.

Just before the crash occurred he was supposed to start his apprenticeship.

"I was due to sign the papers, then the accident happened," he said.

"It impacted my life.

"It affects me going out and seeing people.

"And the things I miss, sportswise, are rugby league and soccer. You can't play that any more."

Mr Engman said the crash occurred after a party with friends.

"I went to a party and had been drinking, so I got a friend to drive me home," he said. "You can't rely on your mates to not do something stupid.

"If you are going to be out drinking, get a taxi."

"You can't rely on people."

Mr Engman, who came to live in Mackay in 1983, said he wanted to make sure everyone understood the importance of always being safe while operating a motor vehicle.

"Always put your seatbelt on, even if you are reversing out of the driveway, you never know.

"It should be the first thing you put on. I'm a stickler for my safety."

Mackay Road Accident Action Group (RAAG) co-ordinator Graeme Ransley, who is a long-time friend of Mr Engman, said they both wanted to warn the younger generations of the importance of safety while driving.

"Gen Y don't understand that this is where you can end up if you don't look out for yourselves and each other," Mr Ransley said.

"But there's an awful lot of people all over this country that society sometimes forgets about, like Ake."



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