The Birthday Present - 2003
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Video transcript

Speech, everyone!

Just have a bit of quiet, thanks.

As most of you know,

David and I have been best friends
since primary school,

and I am honoured that he has asked
me to do a speech here tonight.

Even though he did try to bribe me
into bending the truth a little.


Seriously, though,
he really is a top bloke.

But as they say, all good things
must come to an end,

because later on tonight...

..I’m gonna kill him.


So while I’m up here,
I thought it was fitting

that I should tell you
a little about the man.

After all,

this will be the last time any
of you here will see David alive.

For as long
as I can remember David,

he’s always lived life
to the fullest.

And in a couple of months,
he was gonna live out his dream

and travel the world.

Just imagine what you
could’ve seen and done, David.


You know what is really sad
about all of this... that
it doesn’t have to happen.

I’ll just be showing off
in front of these guys.


Just taking a few risks
on the road.

Well, I guess I should really
try and enjoy this moment,

because no-one here is gonna
look at me in the same way again.

Especially his parents.


Good mates are meant to look after
their mates, aren’t they?

So before I go,

I’d just like to give David
his last birthday present.

It’s...’s your death certificate.


Thanks, mate.


..let’s all raise our glasses

before I end David’s life.

After all,
what are best friends for?

ALL: To David.

End of the transcript
YouTube Version Audio description file

The Birthday Present - 2003

by Shannon Sleeth 

Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people aged 16 to 25. In their first year of driving, young people are about three times more likely to be killed or injured than older, more experienced drivers. Young drivers are more at risk because they lack driving experience and take risks on the roads.  The tendency to take risks is part of being a young person, but for too many young people this results in death or serious injury on the roads.

Risk Taking Facts

  • When carrying two or more passengers a young driver’s risk of being involved in a fatal crash is over five times higher than travelling alone.
  • Young passengers are most likely to be killed in a car when travelling with young drivers.
  • For young male drivers, the riskiest combination is travelling with young male passengers, compared to all other combinations.

What young people think about risk taking

When asked, young Victorians have given valuable insights into how they think about risk taking. Research has shown:

  • Passengers are central to risky driving, especially for young men.
    • Young male passengers rarely discourage their male peers from engaging in risky driving behaviours and often actively encourage it.
    • As a driver, many young males say they drive in a risky way to show off to young male passengers, even if the passengers haven’t asked them to.
    • Young male drivers are less likely to engage in risky actions with female passengers because they want to protect them, don’t feel as much need to impress them, female passengers are more willing to speak out and because they listen to their girlfriends.
  • Common reasons young people give for risk taking:
    • Peer group pressure
    • Impressing friends and wanting to be accepted
    • Going along with the crowd and not wanting to be left out.
    • Sense of invincibility
    • Don’t feel they can say no or speak up when they are in a risky situation.
  • How young people rationalise their risky behaviour:
    • “If all your friends are doing something you’re safer sticking together even if it is in a car… you’d be in more danger if you stayed behind on your own … or caught a train at night on your own rather than getting in the car”
  • Young people:
    • Talk down the possible outcomes
    • Avoid thinking about possible consequences
    • Blame their risky behaviour on outside factors and are overconfident about their driving skills.
    • Recognise they have a choice when faced with a risky situation but they claim the alternative is often neither practical nor a solution.
  • Cars play an important symbolic function, particularly for young men.
    • P plates symbolise freedom and ‘adulthood’.
    • The car you drive and how you drive it reflects who you are.
    • The car becomes a place for socialising with friends.
    • Risky driving is glamourised by Hollywood, motor racing sports, video games and car advertisements.



More than 300 young drivers aged 18 – 25 have lost their lives in Victoria in the last 10 years – representing just less than one in four or 23% of drivers lives lost in Victoria in this period.

In 2018, 14% of drivers who lost their lives were aged between 18 and 25 years, with this age group only representing around 10% of Victorian licence holders.

Young Drivers lives lost (1987 – 2018)

Of the 14 young drivers who lost their lives on our roads in 2018:

  • 79% were male
  • 39% were killed in regional Victoria (73% of these were killed on 100+km/hr roads)
  • 50% were killed in single vehicle crashes
  • 75% were involved in crashes that occurred in high alcohol times




For more information on MAFMAD visit the MAFMAD website