Po­lice urge driv­ers to take care ahead of hol­i­day break

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Jes­sica Cuth­bert

Po­lice are urg­ing driv­ers to take re­spon­si­bil­ity on the roads, warn­ing there will be a higher po­lice pres­ence lead­ing up to Christ­mas.

The mes­sage is firm this year: don’t take risks on the road, and don’t be­come a statis­tic.

Last year, 79 peo­ple died in fa­tal crashes on re­gional WA roads — 15 of these deaths oc­curred in the Great South­ern.

This year, 92 peo­ple have died in crashes across re­gional WA and 18 peo­ple have died in the Great South­ern, with still a month left un­til the end of the year.

One of the worst years for re­gional WA fa­tal­i­ties was 2016, with 106 dead.

Great South­ern Po­lice Dis­trict Of­fice Se­nior In­spec­tor Alex Ryan said there would be a greater po­lice pres­ence on our roads this month.

“The statis­tics are there and we will con­tinue to fo­cus on those cat­e­gory-A lead­ing causes of fa­tal and se­ri­ous road crashes,” he said.

“We will have more peo­ple trav­el­ling in the Great South­ern and more peo­ple on our roads.

“Be pa­tient, re­lax and re­mem­ber you are on hol­i­days.”

Cat­e­gory A causes are im­paired driv­ing, driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs and al­co­hol, reck­less driv­ing, speed­ing and no au­thor­ity to drive, sus­pended or not hav­ing a li­cence and dis­tracted driv­ing such such as when us­ing mo­bile phones.

“These are the top ones, known to be the con­tin­u­ing ma­jor causes of fa­tal crashes on our coun­try roads — we will also mon­i­tor the non-use of re­straints — so not wear­ing hel­mets and seat­belts,” Insp. Ryan said.

“We will have a high pres­ence on the road as far as polic­ing goes and we ask peo­ple to con­sider all these as­pects around speed­ing and those main lead­ing causes to fa­tal crashes and ask them­selves if it’s worth it.”

Insp. Ryan said the most dan­ger­ous part of a trip was near the end of the jour­ney — the home stretch.

He urged driv­ers to make sure they were alert and not to drive while tired.

“We ask peo­ple to stop, have a rest, stretch your legs — fa­tigue can be a huge fac­tor and lead­ing cause of fa­tal or se­ri­ous crashes,” he said.

“I think peo­ple get caught up in the rush of go­ing on hol­i­days. You need to have a rest, take your time and be pa­tient on the road and keep your at­ten­tion on the road.

“Our aim is to re­duce the num­ber of fa­tal and se­ri­ous crashes on our roads — we ask peo­ple to stay safe and con­sider other road users.”

Road Safety Coun­cil chair­man Iain Cameron re­minded driv­ers to take re­spon­si­bil­ity on re­gional roads.

“The road safety mes­sages are here for you, they are here for your fam­ily, my fam­ily,” he said.

“We are far too dis­tracted, we are far too tired, and at 110km/h those crashes off the side of our coun­try roads are nearly al­ways se­ri­ous.

“Please, be­tween now and Christ­mas let’s not lose an­other 20 peo­ple — an­other 20 peo­ple not at the ta­ble at their Christ­mas fes­tiv­i­ties this year. We have to take . . . re­spon­si­bil­ity and think about our­selves and our fam­i­lies.”

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Great South­ern Po­lice will be out on the roads across the fes­tive pe­riod.

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