Road toll high in re­gion

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News -

WA recorded one of its low­est 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 – com­ing in be­low 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 co­or­di­na­tor 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 State-wide 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.

“As a Gov­ern­ment, we are strongly fo­cused on re­duc­ing road trauma, but as a com­mu­nity, we all need to take great care and give our full at­ten­tion to the task of driv­ing.”

Traf­fic act­ing com­man­der Do­minic Wood said it was still a high­risk pe­riod for driv­ers and they needed to avoid com­pla­cency, par­tic­u­larly on long trips.

Pic­ture Nic El­lis The West Aus­tralian

Po­lice con­duct ran­dom breath test­ing on New Year’s morn­ing.

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