Fifteen lives have been lost on Yorke-Mid North roads so far this year.
Of those 15 fatalities, eight have occurred on the Augusta Highway, the main stretch of road that connects the region, and all of northern and western South Australia, with our state’s capital.
Highway patrol sergeant, Steve Griggs, said police frequently receive complaints about poor driving and dangerous overtaking manouvres on the stretch of road.
“Over the years, it has been seriously over-represented for fatalities and serious injuries,” he said.
“The highway itself is a good road, there are plenty of overtaking lanes.”
While speaking to The Recorder about road safety in the area, Sgt Griggs said seatbelt usage and fatigue were still leading causes in crashes.
“Sometimes the scene will tell you the story,” he said.
To no surprise, distraction has became a greater problem due to mobile phone usage and various devices and new technology used in cars.
One area where Sgt Griggs says he has seen improvement is drink-driving.
“There’s less of them around and the readings have come down drastically,” he said.
He attributes this to greater education about drink-driving, enforcement and tougher consequences.
Sgt Griggs also cleared up some common misconceptions in his interview for the drive.arrive. campaign.
“There is a misconception that overtaking lanes have no speed limits,” he said.
It’s a misconception that Sgt Griggs has said is completely incorrect and reminded people that the same speed limit on that stretch of road applies while overtaking.
He also dispelled a myth that most of the fatalities on country roads were city drivers not used to driving in regional areas. He says there is a 50-50 split between locals and city drivers.
Speaking of his own approach to pulling over offending motorists, he said while the driver will get a significant fine and lose demerit points, the emphasis is on them learning from their mistake.
He said drivers often place emphasis on the revenue side of policing, but he said revenue wasn’t why a person is pulled over.
“The fact that it raises revenue is simply a by-product,” he said.
“It’s about road safety and changing people’s behaviour.”
Sgt Griggs also offered some timely reminders for local motorists:
- Plan your trip
- Be patient
- Allow enough time for your plans, should you get delayed
- Take rest breaks
- Make sure vehicles are roadworthy, and if towing, they are adequate for the job they’re doing