16 May 2022

Drive so others survive this National Road Safety Week

| Claire Fenwicke
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ACT Policing and ACT Emergency Services Agency representatives, Minister Gentleman, Minister Steel, Duncan Ablett transport and a TCCS representative stand in front of chairs representing lives lost on ACT Roads

ACT Policing and ACT Emergency Services Agency representatives, Minister Gentleman, Minister Steel, Duncan Ablett transport and a TCCS representative stand in front of chairs representing lives lost on ACT Roads at the National Road Safety Week launch. Photo: ACT Policing.

Stick to the speed limit, drive to conditions and leave your phone alone: these are the key messages to prevent more deaths on Canberra’s roads this National Road Safety Week.

Six people have already been killed on ACT roads this year, with 11 more lives lost in 2021.

ACT Policing commander operations Linda Champion stressed the impact of such fatalities was far-reaching.

“Road trauma has a never-ending, lifetime impact, not only on the responding members, but their families and the community,” she said.

“Please always be mindful that every road fatality impacts so many people for so many years.”

Speed radar showing 115 km/h reading

A 22-year-old NSW woman was caught going 115 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. Photo: ACT Policing.

A recent early morning speed blitz in Canberra saw 19 people fined for going too fast.

This included a 22-year-old NSW woman detected driving 115 km/h in an 80 km/h zone on the Barton Highway. She was fined $700 and will lose four demerit points.

ACT Policing said officers were particularly disappointed that most offences were for vehicles travelling between 15 km/h and 30 km/h above the speed limit on wet mornings.

“The majority of speeding drivers were identified as tradespeople rushing to their jobs and not driving to the conditions,” a spokesperson said.

READ ALSO Video released as investigation into Jyle Molloy’s death continues

Another serious incident occurred on Friday (13 May) when a blue Holden Astra was found driving on the Tuggeranong Parkway with a mattress poorly secured to its roof.

“The mattress was so poorly secured, it was lifting from the roof and other drivers were hesitating to pass the vehicle, fearful the mattress would fly off,” a spokesperson said.

“The driver was pulled over and a washing machine was also located in the rear of the vehicle with the tailgate unsecured.”

The 64-year-old driver was fined $598 for driving with an unsecured load.

car with poorly secured mattress on roof

The driver of a Holden Astra was fined after travelling on the Tuggeranong Parkway with a poorly secured mattress. Photo: ACT Policing.

The importance of driving safely around heavy vehicles was also highlighted at the launch.

Abletts Transport manager Duncan Ablett urged Canberrans to give trucks plenty of stopping room, especially in wet conditions.

“Trucks need twice the amount of space to stop,” he said.

“There might be a nice little spot where you can zip in front [of a truck] in your car, but really you’re just taking up stopping space for the heavy vehicle behind you.”

READ ALSO ACT proposes heavy vehicle licensing, safety reforms following death of Blake Corney

The importance of slowing down around emergency vehicles with flashing lights was also flagged at the launch.

“It’s common to feel concerned when you see an emergency vehicle responding to an incident, but the best thing you can do is slow down,” Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman said.

Transport Minister Chris Steel urged all Canberrans to remember road safety is everyone’s responsibility.

“When we get behind the wheel we take responsibility for the lives of the entire community,” he said.

“Driving so others survive means sticking to the speed limit, driving to the conditions and leaving your phone alone.”

He also confirmed the government was in the process of procuring new mobile phone detection cameras for the ACT.

“We know using your mobile phone is equivalent to being drunk on our roads,” Mr Steel said.

“It endangers other people and it endangers the phone user.”

National icons and buildings across Canberra will be lit up in yellow to remember those killed and seriously injured on our roads.

Visit the National Road Safety Week website for more information.

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