Heartbroken grandma’s plea after Indie’s tragic death
A WOMAN who saw her young granddaughter die when an elderly driver lost control of her car has made a harrowing plea for new laws that could strip Queenslanders of their licences at 75.
Speaking on the first anniversary of six-year-old Indie Armstrong's death in the Nambour Coles car park, Sandy Bampton, 58, says she has barely recovered from the horrific physical and emotional injuries she suffered that day.
Mrs Bampton, Indie's parents and aunty have been campaigning for tougher laws since the terrible accident. The pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears, but they have vowed to keep pushing.
Miriam Grace Paton, 86, was reversing her hatchback when she lost control and hit the accelerator, running over Mrs Bampton, Indie and Indie's sister Lily, 8, who were using a pedestrian crossing.
Mrs Bampton and Lily suffered serious leg injuries, but little Indie died in hospital a short time later.
Mrs Paton was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm, but died late last year before she could face the charges.
Mrs Bampton said she believed only new licensing laws would prevent another tragedy.
"I would like the law to state at 75 years of age everyone must go for a driven and written test, yearly, to be able to keep their licence," she told The Courier-Mail.
"At the moment it is up to a GP if a person is capable of handling a motor vehicle over the age of 75 years of age."
Currently Queensland drivers over 75 are required to carry a special medical certificate, which is subject to regular medical assessments and must be renewed every 13 months.
But Mrs Bampton wants the decision to keep elderly drivers on the road taken away from doctors.
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"This needs to be taken away from the doctors and be run by the Transport Department, the same place you get your licence," she said.
"This will ensure everyone would be tested fairly."
While she survived the incident that killed Indie, Mrs Bampton's injuries were nothing short of horrific.
Both of her legs were crushed and she was placed in a medically induced coma for three days.
Indie's sister - eight-year-old, Lily - suffered a severely broken leg and has been struggling with extreme post-traumatic stress.
Both have had multiple rounds of surgery and are still fighting to overcome the trauma.
"Since the accident, life has never been the same," Mrs Bampton said.
"I have spent many months in the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
"The wonderful and amazing skilled staff, nurses and doctors have worked tirelessly, patiently and lovingly to help me recover; unfortunately it has not been a smooth process," she said.
"With multiple operations and many hospital stays I am still unable to walk and continue to need regular medial care."
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said there were "no easy answers".
"Current laws already recognise the physical and mental changes that can come with ageing by requiring Queensland licenceholders aged 75 or older to carry, and drive in accordance with, a current medical certificate," he said. "We have no plansto add to those measures and introduce mandatory testing."