It was the horrifying road rage attack on a learner driver in Adelaide that left the young victim “too scared to get behind the wheel again”.
Around 5pm on Sunday 16 May 20201, Jacob Trench was driving with his mother and a friend in a Ford sedan along the North-South Motorway at Bolivar when they noticed they were strangely being allegedly tailgated by two men in a white Toyota Hiace van.
For over 10 minutes, the men allegedly closely followed the L-plate driver, travelling south along the expressway and then the North-South Motorway, before forcing him to pull over near the Bolivar exit.
While Mr Trench thought the men would simply speed off, what happened next was instead nothing short of truly terrifying.
The two suspects allegedly pulled up behind the young driver and exited their van.
They then allegedly approached the L-plater and proceeded to lash him on the back with a heavy metal rod.
Moreover, in the midst of the disorder, he received a cut to his head from a sharp object, requiring him to later get stitches for the injury.
But the aggression didn’t stop there.
Mr Trench’s mother, Amanda, was also allegedly attacked, receiving a punch from one of the men through the passenger window before Mr Trench’s friend, who was also in the vehicle, was set upon too.
Moments later, the two men fled the scene.
Nevertheless, their getaway was only short-lived and they were arrested by police officers in a home in Mitchell Park not long afterwards.
“I Didn’t Spark them in Any Way, I Was Just Learning to Drive”: Learner Driver
On Tuesday 29 June, 23-year-old Amman Almasmmoum and 49-year-old Radwan Masmoum faced court following their arrest.
After making a bail application, they were granted conditional bail and are next due to appear in court in August.
Meanwhile, addressing the shocking assault, a disheartened Mr Trench said he did not provoke the men and was simply trying to drive.
“I didn’t spark them in any way,” Mr Trench said, speaking to 9News.
“I was just learning to drive, sticking to the road rules.”
Mr Trench also acknowledged he was still trembling over the vicious attack.
“Yes I’m scared, yes I’m nervous, my legs are shaking,” the brave driver told reporters.
Mr Trench’s mother also spoke of her distress, saying her injuries left her looking like an alien.
“I had black eyes, I looked like an alien,” Ms Trench said.
“I had an ‘egg’ on the side of my face, I was dizzy for days afterwards.
“I felt helpless, absolutely helpless.”
Why You Should Keep a Safe Distance: The Dangers of Tailgating
According to the NRMA, rear end collisions make up the most recorded type of vehicle crash on NSW roads, leaving tailgating as one of the underlying factors in such incidents.
In fact, in the five-year period between 2015 and 2019, a whopping 19,462 such incidents were reported on NSW roads.
While it might seem normal to express disapproval or frustration towards another driver by engaging in tailgating behaviour, what some motorists don’t realise is that it actually increases the danger to all road users and broadens the chances that an accident will happen.
Significantly, this is because tailgating causes reduced vision of the road ahead.
The closer a driver gets to the vehicle in front of them, the less they can see.
Indeed, by reducing the amount of road visible to you, you then reduce your capacity to predict situations and factors that could lead to an accident.
In NSW, it is a traffic offence to tailgate, and for the most part, this is because drivers who engage in such dangerous driving can place other road users at risk.
The law on tailgating in NSW is referred to as “keeping a safe distance behind vehicles”.
This is reflected in rule 126 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW), which outlines that motorists must keep an adequate distance behind another vehicle travelling in front such that the driver be able to, should it be necessary, stop safely to avoid a collision with the vehicle.
Generally speaking, on NSW roads, an adequate distance is measured at a gap of three seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
This distance is considered sufficient and allows a driver enough room to brake safely should they be required to suddenly stop.
In NSW, tailgating can result in a fine of $464 fine and three demerit points.
However, if you elect to deal with the matter in court, the maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 in addition to the 3 demerit points.
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