Po­lice to tar­get key crash causes in re­gion

Narrogin Observer - - News - Tim Ed­munds

Po­lice have urged driv­ers to take greater re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure they and other road users stay safe and avoid be­com­ing a road toll statis­tic.

That mes­sage was firm yes­ter­day as Great South­ern po­lice launched Op­er­a­tion Over­view to try and re­duce the im­pact of road trauma.

Great South­ern po­lice dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Ian Clarke said po­lice pres­ence would be bol­stered in com­ing weeks as part of a high-pro­file op­er­a­tion tar­get­ing fac­tors which con­trib­ute to fa­tal and se­ri­ous crashes.

A to­tal of 64 peo­ple have died on coun­try roads so far this year, nine more than the same time last year.

Ten peo­ple have died on Great South­ern roads this year.

“From our perspective this will re­main as part of our on­go­ing com­mit­ment to road safety,” Supt Clarke said.

“This is not some­thing we will in­tend to let up on.

“We will con­tinue to do that be­cause we must do ev­ery­thing we can to try and re­turn that to a zero (the road toll). Ideally that’s where we want to be, we don’t want peo­ple get­ting killed on the roads.

“Whilst you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity for those in the car with you, you also have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to other road users.”

Supt Clarke said driv­ers should ex­pect to re­ceive a ran­dom breath test and even a road­side drug test, with po­lice vis­i­bil­ity in­creas­ing over busy pe­ri­ods such as loom­ing long week­ends.

He said fa­tigue con­tin­ued to be a ma­jor fac­tor in fa­tal crashes and sev­eral re­cent lucky es­capes, in­clud­ing the crash which se­ri­ously in­jured 68year-old Al­bany woman Gail Lin­ton last Sun­day.

De­spite two rest breaks, Ms Lin­ton fell asleep at the wheel and drifted across Al­bany High­way near Ten­ter­den and rolled her car, but es­caped with pelvic frac­tures and a bro­ken arm.

The crash was cap­tured on dash cam footage by an on­com­ing driver.

“Firstly I think it’s im­por­tant we ac­knowl­edge the courage of the driver who was in­volved in this crash for tak­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of stand­ing up and ac­knowl­edg- ing what has hap­pened, and hav­ing the courage to talk about it in a pub­lic fo­rum,” Supt Clarke said.

“I also want to thank the peo­ple who took the dash cam footage and pro­vided it to po­lice.

“It had quite a trau­matic ef­fect on those peo­ple.

“When a road crash hap­pens it im­pacts on a large num­ber of peo­ple.

“I was on the scene of that crash within a minute of it hap­pen­ing and the trauma for the peo­ple who wit­nessed it was ac­tu­ally quite sig­nif­i­cant; they may as well have been di­rectly in­volved in the crash for the trauma they ex­pe­ri­enced.”

The Great South­ern Road Safety Con­fer­ence will be held in Cran­brook on Septem­ber 18.

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Great South­ern po­lice dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Ian Clarke and Road­Wise road safety ad­viser An­drea Smith­son at the launch of Op­er­a­tion Over­view.

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