After the tragic accident, for Tom Brennan’s family everything and everyone went downhill for a long time. Tom became noticeably insecure and had a lot of trouble dealing with his own emotions let alone everyone else’s. Kylie became an angry teenager. She didn’t want anything to do with any of her family at first. She couldn’t stand being around them. Tess was neglectful to her family and only cared about Daniel. She was depressed to the point of being catatonic. Kath was bitter and became Kylies ‘surrogate mother’ while Tess was in the state she was in.
Fin’s greatest regret was that he survived. Being a paraplegic, he has nothing to look forward to…he is forever a spectator. Joe was constantly trying to see things from everyone’s point of view. The whole family became very dependent on him, and his biggest job was keeping the family together. Brendan had a lot of trouble after the accident. Daniel and Brendan had a very strong relationship and Brendan after the accident Tom realised how sensitive Brendan was when he walked in on Brendan crying over a song called ‘Daniel’.
Brendan was very straightforward with disciplining Tom after the accident as he knew Joe and Tess never gave Daniel the discipline he needed. Daniel was stated to be ‘an accident waiting to happen’. I don’t think changes to the law could have prevented Daniel’s accident. Up until the 1980’s, the age limit to drink and to get your driver’s licence was 21 rather than 18. Daniel was at the legal age to drive and to drink. Nowadays, teenagers drink under the age of 18, even though it is illegal. I don’t believe anything would stop teenagers from drinking under the age of 21 if they do under 18.
If driving was illegal until the age of 21, I still believe Daniel would have done it. He was under the influence of alcohol with a constant flow of dopamine flooding his body. He was angry and fired up. Daniel had quite a strong aggressive personality and I think he still would have jumped in a car and driven off. Nobody would dare go near Daniel. They were all fully aware of his drunken state and they were aware that it was possible Daniel could lash out and become very aggressive. Teenagers are constantly taking risks and trying to prove themselves to their friends.
They need to hold a reputation. If the legal drinking age was 21, 16-20 year olds would still drink. Nothing would have stopped Daniel from drinking at that party. Alcohol is constantly being advertised in places where adolescents can see it. Drinking underage is a risk. Daniel was 19, and therefore not a child, but not quite a self-regulating adult. His frontal lobe has not yet formed properly so his brain isn’t making him aware of risk. He is unable to stop and think of what he might get himself into by drinking and driving. Daniel uses alcohol as a way to overcome his problem.
He seems to think alcohol will numb the pain of finding out about Fin and Claire. When Daniel gets in the car and starts driving off, he isn’t thinking ahead, he doesn’t think about the risk he is taking, drink driving. I don’t think any change to the law could have changed Daniels actions. He knew he was drunk and shouldn’t be driving but he didn’t pay any attention to the risk he was taking and how dangerous it was, because the anger and pain he was in took over when he was under the influence of alcohol. Through reading The Story of Tom Brennan we get to see both tom and Daniel’s private stories.