People will die unnecessarily on Western NSW roads this Christmas and New Year period if people ignore road rules, Western Region Commander Geoff McKechnie has said.
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Unhappy that the regional road toll is over 250 deaths for the year, Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said it was wrong to call the majority of motor vehicle incidents “accidents”.
“They’re not accidents. What we see is inattention, poor driving, bad habits and bad behaviour causing collisions,” he said.
“They’re an accident for an innocent party but the offending drivers and people doing the wrong thing need to take stock and change their behaviour.”
Mr McKechnie said police were gearing up for another high visibility crackdown over Christmas, but called on drivers to take some responsibility.
“We will be out in force, as we are every Christmas but people have to take stock and be responsible for their own actions,” he said.
“We can only have so many police on the roads and you have to police yourself to some degree as a driver and make sure you and your family get to where you want to go.”
Talk of statistics and road tolls sugar-coated the horrific accidents and the tragedy that struck families when someone was killed, the Assistant Commissioner said.
“Over Christmas and New Year we are going to see another set of statistics that really don’t paint a true picture of the impact on families, on individuals,” he said.
“It destroys lives and people need to realise that when they get behind the wheel of a car.
“We get paid to do our work and it is hard but it’s not as hard (for us) as it is for the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters who have to deal with the loss of a loved one for the rest of their life.”
Road safety campaigns, such as Fairfax Media’s Survive The Drive were essential for getting a message across, Mr McKechnie said.
However he said there was a section of the community that continued to ignore that message.
“Those messages need to be reinforced continually to ensure they sink in because it’s still drink-driving, it’s still drug-affected driving, it’s still speeding, it’s still fatigue [that are the main causes of death],” the Assistant Commissioner said.
“Nothing new has come into the mix, it really is the same things we see all the time and continue to talk about.”
Fatigue in particular was a bad killer during holiday periods and on Western NSW, Mr McKechnie said, and he urgeed everyone to take regular breaks and not drive while tired.
“How many great towns have we got in our region where we can stop and get a cup of coffee, something to eat and have a break?” he said.
“Get out of the car, walk down a main street and walk around for five minutes. Yes you might get there a little bit later but you will get there and the innocent parties coming the other way will get where they are going.”
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