A frightening increase in the number of Far North road fatalities has the Motor Accident Commission (MAC) urging drivers to take care in the region.
Seven lives have been lost from six crashes across the Far North local service area, compared to two fatalities at the same time last year.
There has also been 16 separate serious injury crashes this year, a jump from 15 in 2017.
MAC Road Safety Communications Manager Matt Hanton, said road trauma in South Australia’s regional areas is having a devastating impact on those communities.
“Despite making up only 30 percent of the state’s population, this year more than 75 percent of fatalities on SA roads have taken place on regional roads – with more than two thirds of these drivers being regional residents,” Mr Hanton said.
“Before anyone gets behind the wheel of a car and considers making a bad choice, they need to think about who they are leaving behind if something were to happen.” Mr Hanton said.
Although regional drivers make up two thirds of fatalities, Officer in Charge of the Far North Local Service Area Superintendent Paul Roberts said there is no distinct pattern or obvious factors when it comes to those who might be at risk.
Of the seven fatalities, two have been local residents – one pedestrian and one cyclist.
“So many of these crashes are preventable, the majority of contributing factors for these crashes are aligned with the Fatal Five, speeding – slow down, drinking & drug driving – don’t drug or drink drive, not wearing a seat belt – belt up, fatigue and inattention – if you’re tired rest and concentrate of driving, not your phone or any other distractions,” Superintendent Roberts said.
“Whilst driving you have your life and the lives of those around you in your hands, value each life and your own by totally engaging with the task at hand – safely traversing throughout our communities and region.”
Fatal crashes and serious injury crashes leave a devastating impact on the entire community and first responders are not immune.
Often those first to the scene, police, ambulance, CFS, MFS and SES, are members of the community and know the parties involved.
“People think that we are thick skinned and are trained to deal with death, but how does anyone cope with the loss of friend or relative? Regardless we all put on the professional face to reassure the community and to deal with the incident at hand as the professionals we all are,” Superintendent Roberts said.
MAC recently launched its newest regional campaign ‘Left Behind’, targeting unsafe driving behaviours to help reduce the increasing rate of regional crashes.
Research supporting the campaign identified that some drivers let their behaviours slip when they are by themselves, thinking it’s okay because ‘they’re only putting themselves at risk’.
The campaign targets the behaviours of drivers where they may be sneaking away from the pub and driving home drunk, or speeding when alone in the car, thinking that they are not putting anyone else at risk.