Road deaths: St John Ambulance WA urges caution during festive season

St John Ambulance WA paramedic Sandy Bent attends a ‘patient’ during a road crash re-enactment at the RAC’s bstreetsmart event at Perth Arena. Picture: Glen Knight.
St John Ambulance WA paramedic Sandy Bent attends a ‘patient’ during a road crash re-enactment at the RAC’s bstreetsmart event at Perth Arena. Picture: Glen Knight.

PERTH drivers have been asked to give the gift of getting home safely to their loved ones this Christmas.

During the last long weekend in WA, the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, six people died on the roads.

St John Ambulance WA and Royal Perth Hospital have called for drivers to be more careful and aware while using the roads this festive season.

Wheatbelt community paramedic Pat O’Dal said even non-fatal accidents could have a long and devastating impact on road trauma victims.

“As paramedics, many of the patients we attend to following a serious car crash, we see again during hospital transfers for ongoing rehabilitation services,” he said.

“For many, their lives are never the same again.

Mr O’Dal said alcohol and fatigue were the main contributors to road trauma.

“St John is concerned that people – exhausted after a busy week of work plus Christmas shopping and events – will then try on Christmas Eve to drive to the city from the country or depart Perth on holiday,” he said.

“If you’re feeling tired, please delay your trip until you’ve had time to rest. And if you begin feeling drowsy while you’re driving, pull over for a brief nap or swap drivers.”

Royal Perth Hospital director of trauma services Sudhakar Rao joined the call for drivers to be cautious on the roads.

“The Christmas holiday period should be a happy time spent with family and friends, but it has become a time when many Western Australians die or are seriously injured on our roads,” said Dr Rao.

“For every serious incident there is an enormous physical and emotional cost to the patient, and their families and loved ones, not to mention a significant financial cost to our health system.”