“What we don’t want is people being killed or seriously injured in the Goldfields and Esperance, especially on our highways.”
That is what Esperance Police senior sergeant Richard Moore said during a Christmas road safety launch on December 5.
There have been 138 fatalities on roads in WA so far this year, a decrease on last year’s figure which stood at 177 for the same period.
Mr Moore said the causal factors of fatalities and serious injuries on our roads were speeding, mobile phone use, distracted driving, not wearing restraints and impaired.
St John Ambulance chairperson Denise Lane said it was not only traumatic for the families of those involved, but for the attending emergency services and hospital staff.
“We would ask that everybody please slow down, take that little bit of time and please arrive safely with your families and your friends and make sure that you do take that extra bit of time so that we don’t have to visit you enroute,” she said.
“It can be very traumatic [attending the crash] but we are here to help the public.
“While we hate to have to go and for it to have that big impact on us, part of our job is to have a debrief afterwards and make sure that everybody is alright.”
Ms Lance said being in a small town, many people are often connected to those directly affected and it has a ripple effect.
“I’ve lived here most of my whole life, so I know a great number of people and it really does hurt you and you really do get upset when you hear that someone in somebody’s family has lost their life or been seriously injured because you know that nothing will ever be the same for them,” she said.
AM Wreckers Group’s Gary Leeson said although most of the ‘bad stuff’ is removed by the time he arrives, it still does impact him.
“It definitely goes through the community, it hurts people,” he said.
“I’m always disappointed [when arriving at a scene], because you hope that people can manage their behaviour behind the wheel.”
Mr Leeson said he often arrives at a scene shocked by the accident and has learnt a lot.
“When people only walk away with a couple of scratches and you look at the car and you think ‘how the hell did that happen?’,” he said.
“I definitely pay a bit more attention now [on the road] and, being in the tow truck business, you see a lot more and you learn a lot, that’s for sure.”
Esperance Driving School instructor Grace Brotherton said she urged students to begin driving with an instructor early to develop safe driving skills.
“I encourage them to look ahead, think ahead and take it easy, travel gently on the road and take it steady,” she said.
“We’ve had the licensing change recently and they drive more hours and they have to complete the hazard perception first and then their driving test.
It just gives them more practice driving and I think that’s advantageous.”
As a Reverend and member of the state emergency services, Rob Dummermuth said a car accident doesn’t just ruin your holiday for that season, it affects your life, for the rest of your life.
“As a local minister and chaplain, I often get caught up in the follow up counselling that can go on for years. Try and be safe, a little bit of attention there can be a benefit for the rest of your lives,” he said.
“Most of our emergency services in Esperance are volunteers and we’d like a nice Christmas at home as well.”