Most Saturday mornings Susan Jenkins can be found sitting in front of the Bunnings at South Tweed Heads asking locals to sign a petition that goes to the very core of her being.
In October 2016 Mrs Jenkins lost her 22-year-old son, Dann, when an elderly man ploughed into the motorbike he was riding.
Despite having recently been cleared by an optometrist to drive without glasses, the 87-year-old driver, Edwin Jessop, did not see the young man coming on a relatively clear stretch of road.
It was later found that the octogenarian did indeed need assistance with his vision.
Mr Jessop was convicted of negligent driving occasioning death and received a nine-month suspended sentence (due to his age) and a three-year driving suspension.
Ms Jenkins and Dann’s father Gary Jenkins were not satisfied with the sentence.
But they were far more dissatisfied with the laws which allowed Mr Jessop to be driving without glasses in the first place.
‘This has got to stop,’ Ms Jenkins said.
‘The systems in both NSW and Queensland are inadequate. Even in NSW [the state with the toughest elderly driving laws] they’re not driver tested in NSW until they’re 85… I mean, by the age of 85 Elvis has left the building.’
She is calling for drivers over 75 to undertake a mandatory simulator test to ensure their reaction and response times are up to scratch.
‘We also want an eye test conducted by an optometrist – not just an eye-chart on a doctor’s wall. And it needs to test peripheral vision,’ she said.
‘And we also want a test for dementia. Currently people with alzheimer’s can drive.
There are currently more than a million drivers in Australia over the age of 75 and that figure is set to increase dramatically as the population ages.
Recent figures show older people are involved in one fifth of all deadly crashes, and that proportion is increasing.
In 2016 there were 215 fatal accidents where one driver was over the age of 65, 30 crashes more than in 2008, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.
But not everyone agrees that the laws should be tightened.
Many older people are, not surprisingly, reluctant to give up their driving privileges or to submit to a tougher testing regime.
Being unable to drive has a significant impact on older people’s independence and their opportunities for social interaction and community participation.
Ms Jenkins acknowledges this, but believes the need to save lives is more important.
‘The last photo I have of Dann is him lying on the road with a white sheet over him,’ she says.
‘I don’t want that to happen to another young person and to see another mother’s life being ripped apart in the way my life has.’
Her goal is to get 10,000 signatures on paper in both NSW and Queensland, something which would force political leaders in both states to discuss the issue in parliament.
To sign the online petition, visit https://tih2ho.wixsite.com/dann.