‘Tragic’ road toll for 2014

Kalgoorlie Miner - - FRONT PAGE - An­drew Bros­nan

A “hor­ren­dous” year on Gold­fields-Esper­ance roads has seen the re­gion suf­fer the high­est num­ber of traf­fic-re­lated deaths since 2009.

With two weeks left of the cal­en­dar year, a to­tal of 15 peo­ple have been killed and two se­ri­ously in­jured in 11 crashes on Gold­fields Esper­ance roads.

It is the equal third-high­est num­ber of traf­fic deaths in the re­gion for a 12-month pe­riod since 2000, and a 250 per cent in­crease on the six deaths from five crashes in 2013.

April, May and Au­gust were the only months with­out a death on the re­gion’s roads.

The re­gion’s roads are ex­pected to be flooded with cars in the re­main­ing days of 2014, although no traf­fic-re­lated deaths were recorded for De­cem­ber in 2013.

Gold­fields-Esper­ance Traf­fic Unit Sergeant Rus­sell Cham­ber­lain de­scribed the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties this year as “tragic”, but hoped the high road toll would serve as a re­minder for driv­ers over the hol­i­day pe­riod.

“The majority of th­ese crashes … part of the rea­son why th­ese crashes oc­curred is due to the driver or rider,” he said.

“The only good thing about what I con­sider to be a hor­ren­dous run we’ve had, is if we take that hurt the com­mu­nity feels and learn from it.

“Each death or se­ri­ous in­jury has an im­pact — it’s hor­ren­dous, it hurts peo­ple.

“It is a fal­lacy to think that most deaths on coun­try roads are by tourists or vis­i­tors, most of the deaths are from lo­cal peo­ple that travel within their dis­trict.”

The dou­ble de­merit point pe­riod be­gins to­mor­row and will ex­tend right through un­til Jan­uary 4.

Dur­ing that time, po­lice will up their pres­ence on Gold­fields-Esper­ance high­ways and tar­get the usual ar­eas — speed­ing, drink or drug af­fected driv­ers, fa­tigue, un­li­censed driv­ers and seat­belts.

Hav­ing al­ready im­pounded 59 ve­hi­cles in the re­gion this year, all for hoon driv­ing, Sgt Cham­ber­lain said reck­less be­hav­iour would be a ma­jor fo­cus for po­lice.

“Ul­ti­mately it’s your choice and if you want to be­have like an idiot on the road and put ev­ery­one else at risk, in­clud­ing your­self, you don’t de­serve to be on the road,” he said.

“At best you’re go­ing to get charged and lose your car — at worst you’re go­ing to have a crash and you could kill your­self, some­one else, or some­one else’s fam­ily.”

Pic­ture: Louise White

Con­sta­ble Bren­dan Mac­cione and Se­nior Con­sta­ble Sally Hal­l­i­day from the Gold­fields-Esper­ance Traf­fic Unit are gear­ing up for a busy Christ­mas on the re­gion’s roads.

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