Take Care on our Country Roads this Festive Season
Police are advising people set to 'head off the beaten track' to take care on our roads this festive season, with those travelling through SA being reminded to check Outback Road Warnings before hitting the road.
According to SAPOL: "there have been rains through the lands again, and while the desert wildflowers will be springing back to life, it can also make the roads dangerous.
"Take care off the bitumen and remember that police can pull you over for a breath test anywhere, anytime!"
SAPOL's annual road safety operation 'Safe Holidays' runs until midnight on Monday 1 January 2018.
Police statistics show that over the last five years during the operation period (15 Dec - 1 January) there have been 27 fatal collisions with nearly 80 per cent of those occurring in country areas.
“Police won’t just be in metropolitan areas, they will be focused across the state on roads that have been deemed high risk and that carry the most traffic,” said Superintendent Anthony Fioravanti, the officer in charge of the SA Police Traffic Support Branch.
“These roads include our major arterial metropolitan roads and major country highways."
Victorian and NSW Police are currently running a similar campaign to increase road safety in our country areas, particularly along the Murray River in the lead up to New Year's Eve.
The statement reads: "At a time when motorists are heading off on a long weekend or family get away and often driving on unfamiliar roads, Victoria and NSW police reflect on the country trauma over-represented in the number of lives lost on our roads.
One hundred and fifty people have lost their lives on Victorian country roads so far this year compared to 104 in metropolitan Melbourne while in NSW, 285 people have died on regional roads compared with 103 in metropolitan areas.
Road Policing Command Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said drivers must realise there are risks when driving on country roads and acknowledge they have a role to play in making sure they get to their destinations safety.
“Speed, concentration, preparedness and tiredness should all be considerations when taking to our country roads,” Superintendent Fitzpatrick said.
“Long stretches of road, comfortable cars and cruise control can lead to complacency; motorists and riders must not only be mindful of their actions on the road but aware and ready to react in response to other road users mistakes.
“Take a break, plan your journey and drive to the conditions, the fastest route plugged into the GPS is not always the best or safest road either.
"Motorists need to consider is shaving two minutes off your journey worth jeopardising your safety or the safety of your loved ones?
“If you’ve been out late the night before your trip or been out drinking, don’t leave early.
"We’re not here to be party poopers but everyone knows alcohol and or drugs stay in your system.
"We often pick up drivers over the limit the morning after when impairment is still a factor.
“There must be an onus on an individual driver to take responsibility for their own actions and on our country roads where 100km/h is not forgiving, there’s simply no room for error.”
NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said speeding; drink driving and fatigue are some of the biggest contributors in fatal crashes.
“Especially in country or regional areas and when we see a combination of any two of these factors, we have a disaster waiting to happen.”
The Victoria Police statewide road safety campaign, Roadwise, launched on Friday 15 December and will conclude 11.59pm on Sunday 7 January, 2018.
Sadly 12 people have lost their lives on Victorian roads since the start of the operation."
Statewide results as of 27 December at 9am include:
• 597 drink drivers at a strike rate of 1:574
• 390 drug test offences at a strike rate of 1:9
• 447 disqualified/suspended drivers
• 795 unlicensed drivers
• 1618 unregistered vehicles
• 4933 speeding offences
• 1333 mobile phone offences
• 920 disobey signs/signals
• 156 vehicle impounds
• 634 seat belt offences
Please take care on our roads, and arrive alive this festive season.