Country drivers need to change their behaviour says Inspector Shultz officer-in-charge at Singelton

There are many causes of fatal accidents within NSW, however it has recently been identified that country residents make up only one-third of the NSW population yet two-thirds of all fatalities occur on country roads. The Hunter Valley Police District has the highest rate of fatal accidents in North Region.

Operation MERRET was created by the NSW Police Force to reduce the incidents of road-related trauma through a renewed approach that maximises the daily deployment of resources engaged in targeting road safety related risks using a range of existing and innovative strategies. Road safety risks include injury and fatal crashes, speeding offences, fatigue affected drivers, pedestrian safety, inattention offences – mobile phones, PCA/DUI offences, drug driving offences, licence offences, seatbelt/helmet offences and other driving offences for example, hoon driving. 

Along with Operation MERRET there are many campaigns being run but other stake holders such as Transport for NSW, ‘Saving Lives on Country Roads’, which encourages local drivers of country roads to be mindful of their behaviour on the road. Transport for NSW research found that country drivers often resist the notion that the way they drive puts others at risk. And the research showed there is a tendency for complacency, over confidence and lower perception of risk when driving on familiar roads. Other campaigns such as ‘Your speed decides your outcome’, ‘Slow Down’ and ‘How tired are you’, are all attempting to reduce road trauma. With this in mind Singleton locals need to take heed and be very aware of how they drive and their surroundings. Just some helpful tips include the following:

  • When you get in the car turn the volume off on your phone and put your phone in your bag or glove box;
  •  Don’t be in a rush. Give yourself sufficient time to get to your destination. There is a lot of road works on our road at the moment which will slow you down and it will take longer to get to your destination. Be mindful of this and leave earlier;
  •  Seatbelts on for all occupants and pets. Pets also need to be restrained. They are a flying object during an accident;
  • Slow down! We are currently in a drought so when we do get rain the roads will be incredibly slippery. Also the days are cooler and mornings are foggy. Kangaroos are out due to the drought so keep a look out.