SW road deaths on ‘high end’ of average
WA recorded one of its lowest annual road tolls on record in 2018, but in the South West fatalities were higher than hoped.
The Road Safety Commission reported 158 deaths last year — 59 deaths on metropolitan roads and 99 in the country. This was lower than the 161 deaths in 2017, which was previously the equal-lowest toll since records began in 1961.
But in the South West the death toll was on the “higher end” of yearly averages, recording a total of 27 fatalities.
District traffic co-ordinator David Hurdle said road deaths varied between 15 to 24 each year, so 2018 was “at the higher range of what we’d expect”.
“Everything we manage with enforcement, we can,” he said.
“But we can’t manage things like inattention.”
Mr Hurdle said almost all of the fatalities in 2018 involved just one vehicle, making it hard to ascertain the circumstances behind the deaths.
“The top factors though will always be fatigue, inattention and occasionally alcohol,” he said.
Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said it was encouraging the Statewide road toll had continued to fall from a disappointing 196 in 2016, but the figures represented tragedy for the families and friends of the 158 people killed and the many more seriously injured.
“It’s a constant reminder of the need to be vigilant every time we get behind the wheel,” Mrs Roberts said.
“My thoughts are with those who are recovering in hospital from serious crashes over the festive period.”
Traffic Acting Commander Dominic Wood said it was still a highrisk period for drivers and they needed to avoid complacency, particularly on long trips.
“I would urge the public to plan their journey, get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks,” he said. “The majority of crashes are not caused by illegal or risk-taking behaviour, but by ordinary people making mistakes.
“Momentary lapses of concentration and inattention can be deadly.”
Police conduct random breath testing on New Year’s morning.