Wheatbelt crash figures ‘scary’

RAC staff Georgina Forde, Janaya Kershaw, Natalie Wong and Lauren Brophy at the recent Dowerin Field Days with the elephant.
RAC staff Georgina Forde, Janaya Kershaw, Natalie Wong and Lauren Brophy at the recent Dowerin Field Days with the elephant.

DRIVERS are 11 times more likely die on roads in the Wheatbelt than in Perth, say emergency crews and rescue services.

Emergency teams in the region are used to attending horrific car crash scenes where they know the victim, according to RAC senior manager media and government relations Liz Carey.

“Twenty-six people were killed on Wheatbelt roads last year,” Ms Carey said.

“The emergency teams often live in the region and have to deal with the reality that crashes they’re called to could involve someone they know.

“Our community attitudes survey results show Wheatbelt residents think it’s the city slickers to blame, but two-thirds of road deaths are drivers from the local area.”

Volunteer fire brigades vice president David Gossage said fatal crashes impacted greatly on rescue crews and everyone in the local community.

“These are small communities; car crashes tear them apart,” Mr Gossage said.

“Fatal crashes are certainly devastating, but what people tend to forget about is the impact of a near-miss or serious injury.

“Rescuing a baby from a car crash and having to revive it is a memory that will stay with me for life. Luckily the baby was OK.”

Wheatbelt Police Superintendent Peter Halliday said crime statistics showed the region was one of the safest places to live, yet one of the most unsafe areas to drive.

“When you consider the fatal and serious road crash statistics, it’s scary,” Supt Halliday said.

“If your mate is doing something wrong, tell them, or contact the police if you know of someone drunk or drug-|driving.”

Supt Halliday said he had lost count of the number of car crashes he had attended, especially through Great Eastern Highway and Toodyay Road.

“We’ve got to work together to put a stop to it,” he said.

The RAC has embarked on a five-year road safety campaign in the Wheatbelt.

The first stage, Elephant in the Wheatbelt, features a life-sized elephant made from wrecked cars touring through the Wheatbelt to provide a talking point and bring about behaviour change.

The elephant will be at the Quairading Show tomorrow.