Rise in re­gion’s an­nual road toll

Great Southern Herald - - News - Jes­sica Cuth­bert

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.

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