LOCAL police, emergency services and politicians have united to deliver a clear road safety message to the community, after four fatalities were recorded locally in the first six weeks of 2017.
A 34-year-old Evanston Gardens man last week became the fourth person to die on Barossa country roads this year, following the deaths of three elderly people in separate incidents, previously.
Country Fire Service Barossa group officer Matt Bain was one of the first responders to the scene of one of the fatal crashes, which occurred on the Barossa Valley Way, near Lyndoch, last month.
Mr Bain, said although it was his job to attend such incidents, he would rather not have to – especially when it was avoidable.
“The (local) roads are okay, they’re not as bad as what a lot of people say,” he said.
“You just drive to the conditions you’re in.
“Don’t worry about phones, don’t worry about everything else that’s going on – just concentrate on what you’re doing.”
Minister for Schubert and Opposition Road Safety spokesman Stephan Knoll said motorists generally drive at higher speeds and longer distances on Barossa’s country roads, so they needed to take extra care.
“There are a lot of good roads in the Barossa and a couple of bad ones, but, really, it’s just the fact that we’re on the road more often than people in Adelaide, and we tend to be driving longer distances,” he said.
“It really is just a case of, as we become more comfortable on the roads…to still remember the dangers that exist.”
Current Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas joined his predecessor, local MP Tony Piccolo, in supporting the call for greater road caution, pointing out 65 per cent of the state’s fatalities occur in rural and regional areas.
“That means that there’s a gross over-representation of people living within rural and regional communities dying on our roads,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“To see as many deaths as we’ve seen locally – I think we’ve seen four out of the eight (throughout SA) around this community – it shows you that there’s still a real- world impact, and it can strike anywhere, at any time.”
Barossa police Chief Inspector Alby Quinn reminded motorists to always take heed of the “fatal five” major causes of death – speeding, drink- and drug-driving, failing to wear a seat-belt, driving while fatigued, and distraction/inattention.
“I think there are a couple of things that people who are using our roads really need to think about; number one, they need to take time to check at intersections and junctions when they enter into those, to make sure that it is clear,” he said.
“Also, the Barossa is a beautiful part of the country, and a lot of people might be sightseeing when they drive, but the focus needs to be on the road.
“We do have winding roads, we do have a lot of barrier lines, and they’re there to keep people safe.
“At the end of the day, just think about the attention you need to pay to the road, not just the scenery.”
THE new year may only be seven weeks old, but already the community has witnessed four deaths on our local roads – a number that is simply too high.
To put into perspective just how high that figure is, consider that there were six local fatalities total in 2016.
As a result, we at The Bunyip feel compelled, as a newspaper, to inform, educate and remind the local community about ways it can stay safer on local roads.
To do this, The Bunyip, over the course of the next month – maybe longer, if necessary – will be running a new campaign, titled ‘Breaking Point’.
The aim of ‘Breaking Point’ is to not only highlight, and remind people of, the dangers that speeding, drugs and alcohol, fatigue, and inattentiveness can create while driving, but also to offer advice on ways in which motorists can keep themselves safer on the roads.
By doing this, with your help, we hope to apply the brakes to the rising road toll in our region.
If you have a road story to share – whether it’s a lucky escape, or having seen firsthand the tragedy of a road accident – and want to lend your voice to our campaign, we would love to hear from you.
To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org, contact us