Daughter's death a hard lesson for driving instructor

Wayne Bell has been a driving instructor in the region for 16 years, before that he was in the Queensland Police Service fo 22 years.
Wayne Bell has been a driving instructor in the region for 16 years, before that he was in the Queensland Police Service fo 22 years. Madolyn Peters

MACKAY driving instructor Wayne Bell knows fatality statistics in Queensland, and will rattle them off to anyone who will listen.

One person dies on Queensland roads every day and a half. Another 30-40 people are injured in traffic incidents. There are only about two million drivers in Queensland.

It's his job to know these statistics as a driving instructor.

But Mr Bell also know that a statistic can't be placed on the anguish that a fatality puts on family and friends.

Five years ago Mr Bell lost his daughter, Michelle Humphrey,in a single- vehicle crash.


Wayne Bell's daughter Michelle Humphrey.
Wayne Bell's daughter Michelle Humphrey.

"I thought I had done the best for my daughter and taught her everything she needed, I missed one thing," he said.

His daughter was just 26, with three young children and a husband at home.

"The kids were supposed to be in the car with her but they weren't which we're thankful for," Mr Bell said.

"Her husband was at home with the kids," he said.

"She was returning home but she never made it.

"I just can't get people to realise in a car, you don't have to do something major to die, you don't have to be doing 140kmh in a 100kmh zone.

"You could be doing 101kmh in a 100kmh zone that puts you in the wrong place at the wrong time and you pay with your life for the 1km an hour."


Mr Bell has been a driving instructor for 16 years, and before that he was in the Queensland Police service for 22 years.

"I was use to going to fatal accidents and pulling dead bodies out of cars," he said.

"If you had to go around to a house at 2am and tell a mum and dad their son or daughter isn't coming home... or a wife her husband isn't coming home, they have died in an alcohol-related incident and you now have to come up to the morgue and identify the body for me so I know I have the right person ... You wouldn't drink and drive, you wouldn't speed, you would stop at stop signs and red lights."

Mr Bell's son was also in a car accident when he got his licence.


He took his new car out to the back blocks of Marian to test it out.

"On a dirt road he came into a corner too fast, lost control and rolled it," Mr Bell said.

"He walked away from it, it could have been worse because he wrote the car off.

"He now drives a bus with 40 people on it and everyone says how safe he is."

Mr Bell said the biggest problems on the road were drivers not using roundabouts properly, not merging correctly and not using their indicators.

"Impatient people is a big one," he said.

"I teach my students when they are stopped at a red light, when the light goes green you don't put the pedal to the medal.


"The first thing you do is check the people on the red light are actually stopping.

"Should you have to teach young people to drive like that? No you shouldn't if people followed the road rules but the reality is they don't."

Topics:  driver awareness editors picks queensland roads road safety road safety campaign

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