22 May 2022

National Road Safety Week ends with fatality on ACT roads

| Claire Fenwicke
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Police officers talking on road in front of cars

NSW Police Acting Inspector Michael McKechnie and ACT Policing Detective Acting Inspector Paul Hutchenson wrap up National Road Safety Week. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

The end of National Road Safety Week in the ACT has been marred by the Territory’s seventh road fatality.

A 20-year-old man was killed on Hindmarsh Avenue in O’Malley while driving home from work overnight (Thursday 19 May).

ACT Roads Policing detective acting inspector Paul Hutchenson said the trauma caused by the crash would be “lifelong”.

“I want to acknowledge the trauma this causes to the people who observed the collision, the emergency service workers, health workers, and family and friends,” he said.

“Pretty much every crash we go to is avoidable … this will have lifelong consequences.”

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Police targeted distracted drivers in Canberra as part of the awareness week with extra patrols during peak hour.

Act Det Insp Hutchenson was pleased only three people were caught doing the wrong thing.

“Two had their phones, but one person was actually struggling with a suitcase,” he said.

“They missed the green light. Then when they realised, they crashed into the gutter.”

Police officers gathered on a road in front of cars

NSW Police officers assisted ACT Policing with joint border operations. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

He said while targeting speeding, fatigue, distracted drivers and impaired driving was business as usual every week of the year for police, campaigns such as this helped educate motorists further.

“Young drivers may have learned bad habits, while older drivers’ good habits may have slipped along the way,” Act Det Insp Hutchenson said.

Joint border operations were also undertaken with NSW Police from the Monaro district.

Acting Inspector Michael McKechnie said it was as Cooma police were gearing up to launch Operation Snow Safe.

“You must consider fatigue as part of your planning before driving,” he said.

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Police also joined children on their way to school as part of National Walk To School Day.

Act Det Insp Hutchenson described children as some of our “most vulnerable road users” and urged drivers to slow down even more.

“Children make mistakes; drive so they can make those mistakes,” he said.

“People think there’s such a thing as ‘safe speeding’ but even 10 km over the limit increases the risk and severity of a crash. It turns what could have been a minor collision into a major one.”

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