Crash victim left with severe brain injury calls for road law changes
- Credit: Rachel Edge
A teenager left with a severe brain injury after a devastating crash has called for major change to road laws to protect younger drivers and their passengers.
Georgia Wood, then aged 17, was in a coma for 26 days after the vehicle she was travelling in left the road and ended up in a 12ft ditch in Hasketon, near Woodbridge, in April 2017.
The traumatic crash left her unable to walk or talk, shattering her dreams of going to university.
As well as speech therapy and counselling, Georgia has since had intensive physiotherapy to rebuild the pathways in her brain - which were damaged by the haemorrhages in the crash and meant that she had forgotten how to do simple tasks.
The driver of the vehicle was later sentenced to a 12-month driving ban and a £900 fine for careless driving.
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Georgia, who lives in Woodbridge, would also like to see 'P' plates made compulsory for newly-qualified drivers. Currently, they are optional.
"In Australia, new drivers have to still carry a learner plate after they have started driving," she said.
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"Everyone knows they are new and there is less pressure on that person."
Georgia added that another law in Australia, where young drivers are only allowed to carry a single passenger if driving after 10pm, "would've saved me".
One reason Georgia's injuries were so bad was because she was sitting in the middle rear seat and only had a lap belt to restrain her.
That meant she suffered a series of brain haemorrhages, which lead to her long-term injury.
The sentence for the driver in the crash was one the harshest for careless driving, as even those convicted in the most serious cases can escape with a fine and seven points on their driving licence, depending on the circumstances.
But given the crash had such a huge impact on her life, Georgia - now 19 - said the sentence was "not enough".
Although she does not believe a harsher sentence in terms of a fine would have been right, she does think the driver should be "off the road for longer".
She added: "His conscience will be enough punishment. I just hope he doesn't get back on the road soon. I trust he won't."
Georgia's vision was also severely damaged in the crash, although this was greatly improved by a subsequent operation.
Even though she still suffers with the effects of what happened and describes her walking as "pretty wobbly", she has slowly but surely learned how to walk and talk again.
She is even studying an art course at Suffolk One - and on Sunday, June 30 she will show just what a remarkable recovery she has made when she completes a skydive at Ellough Airfield, near Beccles, to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).
Georgia not only wants to raise money for the EAAA as a thank you for saving her life but also help them to become a 24-hour service, to ensure others can get to hospital quicker in similar life-or-death situations.
So far Georgia's JustGiving page has raised nearly £1,500. To donate, visit the page here.