Appeal to stay safe on roads this festive season

CHRISTMAS is fast approaching and it will not be long before people begin to head off on holidays, prompting pleas to road users to be sensible and stay safe.

Detective Leading Senior Constable David Morris from the Victoria Police Major Collision Investigation Unit said fatigue was a factor commonly seen in crashes during the holiday season.

He said people were typically in a hurry to get to their destination and often did not get sufficient rest before hitting the road, with many travelling outside times they would usually be driving or even awake, such as the early morning.

Combined with more vehicles on the road and more people driving on unfamiliar roads at this time of the year, these factors can lead to disastrous outcomes.

As a crash investigator, Leading Senior Constable Morris said distraction was also a major factor he saw in many cases of road trauma.

He said technology, such as the smartphone, was causing this to become even more prevalent.

“A small distraction is often all it is that causes these horrific events to occur,” he said.

Leading Senior Constable Morris said a car travelling at 100 kilometres an hour would cover about 27 metres in a second – a distance great enough for a vehicle to cross onto the wrong side of the road when a driver’s eyes were averted momentarily.

He urged everyone to abide by the laws, concentrate and “keep their wits about them”.

“The people we charge [following serious or fatal collisions] are usually just normal, everyday people who make bad decisions that have catastrophic results,” Leading Senior Constable Morris said.

Keane Marsh, who lost his mother nearly a year ago in a car crash, wants people to remember that their actions have consequences and these can sometimes be tragic, with far-reaching impacts for many other people.

Drivers might think using their phone while behind the wheel or other risky actions were fine, “but you really have to pay 100 per cent attention,” Mr Marsh said.

He also urges drivers who think they might have a medical condition that could possibly affect their driving to get checked out.

Number of lives lost on road climbing

THE number of people killed on the state’s road is continuing its tragic climb.

As of Friday, 262 lives had been lost, a 15 per cent increase on the same time last year and already 4 per cent higher than the figure for all of 2015.

This week seven people have died through road trauma, three of them on Tuesday alone.

At least one person sustained life-threatening injuries and a number of others have been treated for serious injuries.

This year will be the third consecutive year the number of people killed on the roads has grown.

From 2010 to 2013 the annual number of lives lost fell from 288 to 243, but that trend was short-lived.

But the son of a woman killed in a crash last year wants people to remember these figures are not simply numbers, but represent countless lives changed.

Keane Marsh said everybody would be missed by somebody and the death of his mother Cathy had affected many people beyond her family and friends.