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‘Don’t my son’s death be in vain’: Mother’s road safety plea

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“Blaze wasn’t doing anything wrong. His toxicology report came back negative, there was nothing in his system, he wasn’t speeding … he just made a bad decision to drive tired and it cost him his life,” Ms Hoskins said. Blaze Hoskins, 18, was travelling along the Sturt Highway, Kingston On Murray, when he crashed his Holden Commodore into a truck just before 6am on August 22. The truck driver sustained minor injuries but Mr Hoskins, from Eden Valley in the Barossa, died at the scene. His heartbroken mother does not want the young man’s death to be in vain and is pleading with motorists this holiday season. Mr Hoskins was driving early to get back to work at Riverland company Elite Netting, which installs netting over horticultural sites.“I taught him to drive on the dirt, I taught him to drive in the wet, I taught him to get out of a slide but you can’t teach someone not to fall asleep,” Ms Hoskins said. Mr Hoskins was one of 72 people killed in regional road crashes – 17 of those were in the Barossa Valley region, including two double fatalities.One of those crashes claimed the lives of Mr Hoskins’ friends Harley Litzow, 23, and Alex Wait, 20.The young men were driving along Angaston Rd, Nuriootpa, where their ute crashed into a tree on March 20.Mr Wait and Mr Litzow died at the scene, while a third man travelling in the tray of the vehicle was injured.Ms Hoskins said she and her son were devastated by their deaths.“I remember at their funeral saying no parent should have to go through this and then a few months later it’s me,” Ms Hoskins said. Her only child, Ms Hoskins remembers the 18-year-old as caring, loving and kind.“Blaze had a lot of difficulties growing up. He had autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so he struggled a lot during life but he always told his friends, me, his friends parents, how much he loved us,” Ms Hoskins said.“He was a very kind young man and he always spoke the truth.” Mr Hoskins loved motorbikes, all things cars and, above all, family and friends.“To all young people – don’t do anything stupid on the road, don’t drink, don’t take drugs, don’t drive tired, don’t speed. We’re just losing too many,” she said.“We can’t stop murders but we can stop things that happen on the road if people would just slow down.“It only takes one person to hear this message and it means that (Blaze’s) life wasn’t in vain.”SA Police figures show the biggest increases in regional road fatalities over the past year were in the Limestone Coast (a 125 per cent increase from four in 2020 to nine in 2021) and Barossa Valley (a 112.5 per cent increase from eight in 2020 to 17 in 2021). Traffic Services Branch officer-in-charge Superintendent Bob Gray told The Advertiser that road safety was comparable to personal health and wellbeing.“If you get something you do everything you can to make sure you’re in best position not to get some sort of major medical illness,” Superintendent Gray said.“You can take measures to make sure you’re safe and that other people who are travelling on the roads are safe but you have to take ownership.”Superintendent Gray urged all road users to take responsibility to help minimise the devastation suffered by hundreds of families each year.“The frustration is that, as a general concept, you don’t need to lose your life driving on South Australian roads,” Superintendent Gray said.



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