Rise in region’s annual road toll
Eighteen killed. That is the simple summary of the Great Southern’s road toll in 2018.
The figure is up from 15 in 2017 but down on the 31 killed in a tragic year in 2016.
Country roads again dominated the fatalities across WA, with 99 of the 158 fatalities from the regions, despite their lower populations.
The Great Southern’s 18 deaths accounted for nearly 20 per cent of regional road deaths. The silver lining was a fatality-free festive period, which Great Southern Superintendent Ian Clarke said was a pleasing result.
“I think country driving is more dangerous than driving in the metro area; we have higher speeds and different roads to what people may be used to,” he said.
“When a mistake is made or happens — at a higher speed — the outcome can be potentially catastrophic.
“We didn’t have any fatalities on our roads in the Great Southern over Christmas, which is encouraging to see. The behaviour by the vast majority of road users was good.” He said it was pleasing that the State’s road toll was lower than previous years.
“It’s something we can’t take our attention away from — road safety still remains a massive trauma to the community, so we are hoping for a great and safe year,” he said.
On New Year’s Eve, Denmark police stopped a 17-year-old P-plate driver who was charged with drink-driving, resulting in immediate suspension.
“It’s a decision that person has made being very aware of all the facts . . . there is no excuse and it’s as simple as that,” Supt Clarke said. “There is education that starts in primary school about road safety and if people are making poor decisions on the roads, then I think it’s time to have a sitdown and have a reflection about their life.” He said despite large crowds on New Year’s Eve in Albany and Bremer Bay, there were no major incidents or arrests. On December 31, Wagin police seized a large quantity of drugs from a vehicle stop. The driver was charged with possessing drugs with intent to sell and unlawful possession of a quantity of cash. Cannabis, ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine and amphetamines were seized. Double demerits remain in place until midnight Sunday.