Drivers must take responsibility

IT has been an horrific few weeks on the Pacific Highway and our local roads with three people dead and dozens of others affected by those tragedies.

The ripple effect of the carnage on our doorstep extends to our emergency services crews who, for the last two weeks, have had their own personal resilience pushed to the limits in a bid to save the lives of those we’ve lost.

Blame shifting is easy – fix the roads, provide more signage, employ more highway patrol police – but the stark reality is that driver behaviour and the responsibility we all have for keeping each other safe on our roads is up to us.

Here are some facts – and if they don’t shock you perhaps consider if you should be driving on our roads at all:

Despite all of the driver education and awareness programs, speed continues to be the biggest killer on our roads, contributing to about 40 per cent of all road deaths in NSW last year.

More than 157 people lost their lives because someone chose to drive too fast.

The second primary cause of road fatalities rests with people who drive while fatigued.

Last year 83 people died on NSW roads because they were too tired to drive.

Did you know that being awake for 17 hours has a similar affect on your performance and reaction time behind the wheel as a blood alcohol content above the legal limit?

And then there’s the issue of mobile phones. If you feel the need to pick up your phone while you are behind the wheel then you are an idiot.

Last year more than 38,000 drivers were fined for illegally using their mobile phones while driving.

At 60 kilometres per hour, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds. Take your eyes off the road to look at a text for a few seconds and you continue to travel virtually blind.

Is a phone call, Facebook message, Tweet or email worth losing your life over? Or killing someone else?

In one week, the roads in and around the Hastings have claimed the lives of a woman, a man and a child. The families of those people will forever be left with the tragic gap of a person they lost in an instant.

We are all impacted by this, and we are all responsible for it. The next time you get behind the wheel, think about your place on the road. Respect it. 

Tracey Fairhurst