Driver be­hav­iour de­cline

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

PERTH DRIV­ERS us­ing emer­gency lanes to jump traf­fic jams, mo­torists shav­ing while be­hind the wheel, and cou­ples in the mid­dle of a heated ar­gu­ment; these are just a few of the things spot­ted by RAC’s road­side as­sis­tance pa­trollers dur­ing their time help­ing some of the State’s most vul­ner­a­ble road users.

The find­ings were re­vealed by the RAC af­ter a sur­vey of its road­side pa­trollers to dis­cover ex­actly what they en­counter on WA roads.

Last year RAC came to the aid of more than 400,000 Western Aus­tralians. RAC gen­eral man­ager Mark Weller said the com­pany’s pa­trol team were uniquely placed to of­fer in­sight into is­sues faced on WA roads, given the amount of time us­ing them.

The re­sults make for some in­ter­est­ing read­ing.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, 96 per cent of those sur­veyed said traf­fic con­ges­tion was on the rise.

More than 43 per cent of pa­trols said WA roads had de­clined in qual­ity, and up to half say dam­aged tyres were the most fre­quent type of prob­lem, a re­sult linked to the amount of de­bris on our roads.

Twenty per cent ex­pe­ri­ence a near miss each week, with the close calls at­trib­uted to mo­torists not slow­ing down near a traf­fic in­ci­dent or im­pa­tient driv­ers us­ing emer­gency stop­ping lanes to avoid con­ges­tion.

Close to all pa­trols said they had no­ticed an in­crease in un­safe driv­ing be­hav­iours, which in­clude speed­ing, run­ning red lights, road rage and tail­gat­ing.

Peo­ple us­ing mo­bile phones while be­hind the wheel was the most com­mon of the un­safe habits spot­ted, with 95 per cent of pa­trols say­ing they had seen it.

Mr Weller said he was not sur­prised by the re­sults.

“We had sus­pected that our pa­trols have seen and ex­pe­ri­enced a great num­ber of things given they spend so much time driv­ing around,” he said.

“The sur­vey has con­firmed for us that inat­ten­tion and bad driver be­hav­iour such as road rage and tail­gat­ing have be­come much more of an is­sue re­cently.

“From a safety per­spec­tive the sur­vey re­ally brought home the fact that work­ing at the side of the road at break­downs has be­come in­creas­ingly more dan­ger­ous ev­ery day.

He urged mo­torists to slow down and move over in those sit­u­a­tions.

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“In the last five years I would have to say con­ges­tion, which dur­ing peak hour im­pacts sig­nif­i­cantly on how long it takes us to res­cue our mem­bers.”

“For me the top three is­sues are driver inat­ten­tion – I see peo­ple eat­ing their break­fast in their lap, putting on make-up or tex­ting while driv­ing - con­ges­tion and driver at­ti­tudes.

“One time I re­ceived my job no­ti­fi­ca­tion and it said 'Par­rot stuck un­der car dash'. I thought to my­self 'Is this a joke?' And then I re­ceived a call, it was real. The mem­ber had res­cued an in­jured par­rot from the grille of their car, placed it on the front pas­sen­ger seat and drove it to the vet. How­ever dur­ing the car ride the par­rot came to, and flew up un­der the dash­board.”

Se­nior pa­trol of­fi­cer Jason Ko­va­cavich. Q and A with road­side as­sis­tance pa­troller Peter Wil­liams (South metro and South­ern Gazette area).

How many years have you been with the RAC?

How have you seen WA roads change in your time with road­side as­sis­tance?

In your opin­ion, what are the top three is­sues as­so­ci­ated with WA roads?

What is the weird­est or most un­usual thing you've seen on the road?

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