Drivers urged to pay attention on roads

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Great Southern District Superintendent Ian Clarke says too many drivers are not fully concentrating on the task of driving.
Camera IconGreat Southern District Superintendent Ian Clarke says too many drivers are not fully concentrating on the task of driving. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

One in six drivers who died in a crash in the Great Southern last year was killed due to inattention.

Road Safety Commission figures have revealed inattention was linked to almost 17 per cent of the 18 fatal crashes in the region as Statewide statistics exposed an even more concerning trend.

Last year’s total of 29 inattention-related crashes represented a 70 per cent increase over the preceding five-year average of 17.

Great Southern police district Superintendent Ian Clarke said inattention could range from illegal mobile phone use to simply adjusting the radio or speaking with passengers.

“You may take your eyes off the road and put your wheels in the gravel and roll the car over, but if you’re not wearing a seatbelt that’s what makes it a fatal crash or a serious crash,” he said.

“More often than not there is more than one contributing factor to a crash, even though inattention may have created the situation to start with.

“When you are driving a car or truck or whatever it is, your sole concentration needs to be on that act; it can’t be doing anything else.”

In the Great Southern in 2017, inattention was recognised as the cause of three of the 15 fatal crashes.

So far this year, nine people have already lost their lives on Great Southern roads.

Supt Clarke said illegal mobile phone use remained a big issue, while motorists not buckling their seatbelts had resulted in a number of fatal crashes in the region.

“It leads to a real sense of frustration with the emergency responders that are going to these crashes, and to them it’s a senseless waste of life,” he said.

“It’s those sorts of things that are really impacting on the emergency responders because they can see by a simple action that person has lost their life.”

Supt Clarke said a safe trip could go horribly wrong very quickly unless families established basic ground rules to avoid inattention.

“It’s really important that we do have those conversations with our partners and our children and even our parents because that’s the sort of stuff that will potentially save lives; just people being aware and having it at the forefront of their minds when they are driving,” he said.

“I’m not suggesting people need to be frightened about going out driving, what I’m saying is that it’s a good idea to talk about that, and if you’re having those conversations early, particularly with your children, One would hope that is going to progress into their driving habits when they get older.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails