Po­lice dis­play drives home ru­ral road safety mes­sage

Western Times - - NEWS - Molly Han­cock Molly.Han­cock @west­ern­starnews.com

PO­LICE are on a mis­sion to make Queens­land roads safer with their Join the Drive to Save Lives ini­tia­tive this week.

Dur­ing the 14-day pe­riod from Au­gust 24 to Septem­ber 6 last year – de­scribed by po­lice as a hor­ror pe­riod for the south­ern Queens­land re­gion – 10 fa­tal­i­ties oc­curred.

This year’s mis­sion for the south­ern re­gion is zero fa­tal­i­ties.

Roma District crime pre­ven­tion co­or­di­na­tor Se­nior Con­sta­ble Dale Kenna said not driv­ing to the con­di­tions was a ma­jor cause of ac­ci­dents on the road.

“One of the main causes be­hind the crashes in that hor­ror pe­riod was over­tak­ing,” he said.

“The ma­jor­ity of the ac­ci­dents are sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents and are the re­sult of over­tak­ing or swerv­ing to avoid kan­ga­roos.

“Some­times over­tak­ing large road trains or car­a­vans you can get frus­trated.

“With country driv­ing you just have to be pa­tient. You don’t have to over­take im­me­di­ately, just wait for the right time.”

On Mon­day po­lice of­fi­cers were at West­lands Plaza with a pub­lic dis­play on road safety, in­clud­ing a driv­ing sim­u­la­tor.

Sen-Con­sta­ble Kenna said the aim of the sim­u­la­tor was to ed­u­cate com­mu­nity mem­bers on how dif­fer­ent con­di­tions af­fect your ev­ery­day driv­ing.

From 2016 to 2017 the num­ber of traf­fic crashes on Queens­land roads in­creased from 2095 to 2155.

Queens­land Po­lice sta­tis­tics showed that from Jan­uary 1 to July 29, 2017 the south­ern re­gion re­ported 26 fa­tal­i­ties. In that same pe­riod this year, there were 35 fa­tal­i­ties.

“The re­al­ity is that most fa­tal crashes are caused by driver er­ror and at least one of the fa­tal five fac­tors,” SenCon­sta­ble Kenna said.

He said the main fac­tors con­tribut­ing to fa­tal­i­ties in the south­west re­gion in­cluded not driv­ing to con­di­tions, fa­tigue, inat­ten­tion and dis­trac­tion.

He said all driv­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to them­selves and other road users to drive to the con­di­tions, which in­cludes driver ex­pe­ri­ence, time of day, type and con­di­tion of ve­hi­cle driven, traf­fic con­ges­tion, prob­a­bil­ity of wildlife and other road­way ob­struc­tions and other ve­hi­cles shar­ing the road.

In the south­ern re­gion in 2017 fa­tigue was a fac­tor in 12 per cent of fa­tal­i­ties, with inat­ten­tion and dis­trac­tion caus­ing 39 per­cent of fa­tal­i­ties.

“Queens­land Road Safety Week is a chance for po­lice and the com­mu­nity to be in­volved in mak­ing our roads safer,” Sen-Con­sta­ble Kenna said.

PHOTO: MOLLY HAN­COCK

STAY SAFE: Se­nior Con­sta­ble Dale Kenna, from Roma Po­lice Sta­tion, and Greg Caletti, from Roma PCYC, test out the driv­ing sim­u­la­tor that fea­tured in the Queens­land Road Safety week dis­play at West­lands Plaza.

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