Police frustrated at road toll

FRUSTRATED: Acting Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis is frustrated by motorists risking their lives on the region's roads. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong
FRUSTRATED: Acting Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis is frustrated by motorists risking their lives on the region's roads. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Driver inattention is being cited by police as one of the main causes of accidents on the district’s roads over the holiday period.

There have been some bad crashes on the roads, including a fatal accident near Gunning at about 9am on December 28, when a 72-year-old woman died after her van and a truck collided. They were travelling in same direction. 

On Sunday, December 31, both of the northbound lanes of the Federal Highway were blocked after a car towing a boat rolled near Wollogorang. 

Police Inspector Alison Brennan said At 2.15pm on Sunday, a car towing a car towing a boat was involved in the single-vehicle crash. 

“The car almost collided with the guardrail, then the driver over-corrected and lost control of the vehicle,” Inspector Brennan said.

“The trailer became separated from the vehicle. The trailer went into the median strip and the car rolled off the other side of the road.

“It was fortuitous there were a number of off-duty doctors and medical personnel there at the time who rendered assistance to the occupants.

“The car was carrying five people - they are very lucky more people in the vehicle were not injured, but a 19-year-old woman was airlifted to Canberra Hospital.”

Both lanes of the Federal Highway was closed at the time, causing traffic to bank up considerably. The road was finally cleared at about 5pm.

Hume LAC Acting Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis said he had also had enough of accidents on our highways over the holiday period. 

He said the impact of a road death sent "shockwaves" through a rural community.

He said fatigue, speeding, drink driving and improper use of seatbelts were also consistently the biggest killers on roads. 

Acting Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis said he was frustrated at the number of accidents. 

"I'm just frustrated myself. We put so many messages out and unfortunately people don't listen," Acting Superintendent Koutsoufis said.

"There are rest areas all along the Hume Highway - take advantage of them. I mean, what more can you do to a straight stretch of road?"

Echoing this theme, Police Inspector Brennan said accidents caused by driver inattention were becoming ‘all too common.

“These single-vehicle accidents are becoming all too common, where it is not speed or alcohol - it is just drivers taking their your eyes off the road,” Inspector Brennan said.

“It is becoming increasingly worrying because it is not something that we can police too much - we can pull people over and test them for alcohol and speeding but we cant detect when people are just not paying attention - we can only hope to educate people

“It may not even be mobile phones, just taking your eyes off the road while travelling at high speed increases the room for error.

“Anecdotally, I can’t speak for other commands, in Hume, most of the recent accidents have been people taking their eyes off the road.”

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said people need to take responsibility every time they get into a car.

“We have lost over 28 lives during Operation Safe Arrival and the holiday period has been nothing short of a tragedy for everyone involved,” he said. 

“We will continue to target drivers putting everyone at risk, but in order to save lives, the entire community needs to think differently when it comes to road safety.”

“Every time you get in a car, whether you are a driver or passenger, take responsibility and make sure others around you are as well.”